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The hearing of a case involving six activists, whom police arrested for protesting the theft and misappropriation of Covid-19 funds, will be on November 4.

The arrested are MUHURI’s Francis Auma, Lucas Fondo, Tirus Mukami, and Michael Nato. Others are Felix Otieno and Kiti Nyale.

Police levelled three counts — engaging in prohibited gathering, failing to maintain a physical distance of less than a meter, and failing to wear a face mask while in public. 

Accused denied the charges.

The peaceful demonstration was on August 25 in Mombasa. Cops cracked down using teargas and wooden batons.

 

Scandal

According to government records, Kenya had by August secured Sh223 billion from the international community for its fight against Covid-19.

But officials have misspent or stole the money.

Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) is at the heart of the graft after it skewed kits’ procurement, leading to Sh738 million saga. 

Parliament and investigative agencies are interrogating suspects. No indication of a possible arraignment of looters.

President Uhuru Kenyatta wants the probe completed in 21 days.

Kemsa CEO Jonah Manjari is suspended over the graft.

Manjari implicated Health CS Mutahi Kagwe.

He said the Minister ordered him how to procure Covid-19 kits, favouring some companies over others. 

Kagwe denied involvement. Manjiri has since changed tune, exonerating the CS.

Protest

Mombasa protest was among series conducted nationwide to call for accountability and prosecution of implicated individuals. 

Just like in Mombasa, police also bust Nairobi demonstration.

Mombasa activists had served police with a notice of their intended peaceful protest. Police, however, declined to receive it – and promised a disruption.

Arraigned activists before Magistrate Rita Amwayi on September 8. Photo: Ernest Cornel.

It is customary for Kenyan police to mess up actions urging accountability where public funds – which pay their salaries and facilitate their work – are stolen.

Police are more ruthless and brutal on innocent protesters if the scandal touches high-ranking government officials or those with close ties with the Head of State.

Kenya in March got embroiled in another scandal involving six million face masks meant for Germany.

German customs officials were trying to track down the masks, ordered to protect health workers from the coronavirus, that they say went missing at an airport in Kenya.

The shipment was due in Germany on March 20 but never arrived after disappearing the airport. It was unclear why the masks, produced by a German firm, had been in Kenya.

The court case in Mombasa was before Magistrate Rita Amwayi.