On 12th March, 2020 the Government of Kenya reported the first case of covid-19 in the country. A series of directives were issued in the ensuing months. Kenyans were advised to maintain social distance, sanitize their hands and wear masks. Schools, churches, hotels and bars were closed. The government imposed a countrywide curfew and the country’s two major cities were locked down. An invisible enemy had penetrated our borders.
Many of us obeyed the government’s directives and hid indoors, eschewing physical contact with family and friends. But while we waited fearfully for the government to start tallying the country’s death toll, it soon became apparent that deadlier pathogens were moving unchecked among us. Media reports of increased cases of domestic violence, child sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy and suicide quickly became staple features in the local media. These reports were soon overshadowed by reports of gross mismanagement of covid-19 funds, quickly followed by mammoth political rallies championed by the country’s top politicians who nonchalantly ignored their own public health directives.
The covid-19 pandemic has metamorphosed into a tragicomedy and its impact on ordinary Kenyans may linger for decades to come.