Joho Breathes Fire After Residents Reject Covid-19 Mass Testing [VIDEO]

  • Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho addresses the public on January 23, 2020.
    Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho addresses the public on January 23, 2020.
  • Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho has voiced concerns after residents in Mombasa County failed to show up for Covid-19 tests.

    The governor was addressing Kenyans at Old Town on Saturday, May 2, where voiced displeasure that members of the public were not taking the pandemic seriously and threatened to escalate the cessation of movement to a complete lockdown. 

    "Two days ago we rolled out mass testing in Old Town, the residents are roughly 28,000. The figure we have is that we have 28,000 residents in this area but the number that has turned out to be tested are about 131," Joho stated.

    Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho addressing the nation from State House Nairobi on April 25, 2020.
    Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho addressing the nation from State House Nairobi on April 25, 2020.

    "We have come to speak to you people of Old Town, everybody is complaining for one reason or another. The fact of the matter is that the government put the situation very clear from the onset, they told us to stay home, stay safe and wear your mask, observe hygiene standards. Many of us refused to listen, which has brought us to this situation today," he remarked.

    Joho stated that people were finding excuses to evade the testing, further noting that they had perceived the exercise as a jail sentence.

    He sounded a warning to members of the Islam community who were defying the set directives by the national and county governments. He warned that if residents of the county failed to adhere to the orders, then he would push for a total lockdown of the area.

    Joho revealed that there were Kenyans hiding people who were listed under the county government's contact tracing list.

    "Hizi ndizo fitina hatutaki. You are opening the mosque, then allowing people to sneak in. When the police come, you start talking badly.

    "Where is your mind, what kind of laziness is this?" he scolded the residents. 

    "If you think you won't be tested, be ready. You will be tested my friend. Now we are bringing it to your doorsteps and it is free, there will be a time you will pay for it. So take advantage of this opportunity and get tested," Joho pronounced.

    "You get to social media and oppose everything. You are not protecting me my friend. I have my mask, I have my gloves. Everybody talks of being tested and you don't want to be tested? Stop joking, stop excuses!" he roared.

    "We have already buried six people from Old Town and yet you have time to argue? What is wrong with you? Use your common sense, stop joking with lives," the governor added. has also established that residents of Kawangware are now shying from mass testing after the area was earmarked as one of the Covid-19 hotspots in Nairobi.

    This after Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, while issuing the daily Covid-19 briefs at Afya House on Friday, May 1, 2020, highlighted the area as a hotbed for infections.

    Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, Kawangware has recorded 13 Covid-19 confirmed cases.

    "If you live in Kawangware you need to know there is a centre there. If you live in Kawangware you must now know that the person next to you might be infected," Kagwe had stated further, urging Kenyans to adhere to the safety measures advised by the government.

    Speaking to on Saturday, May 2, George Mwangi Momita, a resident of Kawangware revealed that members of the public were conflicted as to whether to take the tests or not.

    A section, he revealed, decried the expenses they would have to incur while in isolation if they test positive for the virus.

    "Most people are saying that they fear being quarantined especially after the government said that it is at one's own cost. Already times are hard, telling someone to go and pay the fees there, it becomes tricky," Momita stated.

    "But there are those that are considering the tests. They are weighing the effects it would have on their families and as a way of precaution, they are opting to go for the tests," he added.

    A photo of Nairobi Health CEC Hitan Majevdia addressing the media at City Hall on Monday, March 16, 2020.
    Nairobi Health CEC Hitan Majevdia addresses the media at City Hall on Monday, March 16, 2020.
    Simon Kiragu

    Nairobi County Health CEC Hitan Majevdia on May 2, told that the government was determined to successfully conduct mass testing in the area.

    He noted that while many would shy away from the process, the ministry would ensure a majority are tested and employ neighbours to reach people rejecting the activity.

    "First of all if we suspect someone or a household, then he must be tested to save others. But you know when we say mass testing, it doesn't translate to 100 per cent testing. Of course, we will lose out on a few.

    "But you see neighbours will give us the information, if they suspect so and so they will inform us and that is how we will come to know," Majevdia stated.

    With common ground for argument by a majority being the cost of the quarantine facilities, other members of the public raised concerns over the widely reported poor state of quarantine facilities, and who would take care of their families if they are taken away?

    Women in Business CEO Mary Muthoni who spoke to advised that members of the public see the bigger picture.

    She has in the course of the pandemic partnered with several other interested parties in ensuring the public is educated in regards to the adversities of the virus, and offering donations to the needy.

    "I'm sure what people are fearing right now is that the pockets are already empty, and they would have to dig deeper. However, we are 49 million people, how many can the government quarantine, and how many can they pay for?" Muthoni posed.

    However, she argued that the government was not able to foot bills for all members of the public, referencing food donations which the government has had to selectively identify those in need.

    "Yes, the quarantine facilities are expensive but look at this way, assume you get sick today. What are you going to do? Are you going to stay at home because hospitals are expensive? That is what people should be thinking about," She asserted.

    Muthoni advised that Kenyans bear responsibility for their own sake and that of their families, in helping the government stem the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

    Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, revealed that the government would dispatch more surveillance teams to market areas to conduct checks on possible cases of Covid-19.

    She had announced that of the confirmed cases reported that day, one was a woman from a market in Kawangware area.

    ''Kawangware now is an area under surveillance especially after this first case, we have been monitoring the market in regards to adherence to containment measures, and we have identified markets as one of the possible areas of transmission," Mwangangi had stated.

    She singled out Kawangware as an area where adherence to safety measures was not being observed as required.

    ''While in Kawangware, I noticed that people had masks on but they were on their chins, and these are some of the measures that we are putting in place to help Kenyans," She asserted.

    Ministry of Health officials preparing to random screen members of the public for COVID-19 symptoms at Nairobi Railway Station, in Nairobi on Saturday, March 21, 2020.
    Ministry of Health officials preparing to randomly screen members of the public for COVID-19 symptoms at the Nairobi Railway Station, on Saturday, March 21, 2020.