The Communist Party of Kenya has welcomed the Government’s warning to business people to cease taking advantage of the current situation to make more profits by increasing the price of basic commodities.
In addition, they have called on authorities to do more to protect the health and the rights of its citizen during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
in line with the Government directive to avoid social gatherings to curb the spread of the virus, CPK has also suspended major Party affairs including the sub-county and study circle meetings across the country for the recommended 14 days.
According to the party’s vice chair – Booker Omuse: “The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the poverty of the neo-liberal capitalist idea that the Kenyan society needs more and more of the private sector and less and less of state sector in the daily running of the economy.”
He added:”If our public transport system was State owned and managed, the Government of the day would have effected the public vehicle hygiene policies (to the highest standards) without having to plead with the private bus/matatu owners to do so.
“If the Government controlled the distribution of basic commodities in the Country, then the President would not be pleading or issuing threats to the private distributors not to increase the price of these commodities.”
The CPK however recognises the ongoing efforts by the Government to arrest the spread of infection of the Virus, and in particular commends the actions of the healthcare workers who in spite of the possible risks, are determined to ensure that they play their role to mitigate the risks to the masses.
Omole, who will be trying his stab as an aspirant for the Gem constituency Parliamentary seat added “the government itself would have ensured that the working class and the masses continue accessing these commodities at favorable prices”.
“Surrendering the provision of services to the private sector compromises both the implementation and standards of these services both in normal times and in times of crisis. The capitalists will always be inspired by profits and not the well-being of the people.”
The Competition Authority of Kenya and other government agencies have already taken punitive and criminal action against some of these profiteers.
However, the party feels a lot more needs to be done, both in the short term and in the long run. The short term measures must include proper sensitization of the masses on the prevention and detection of coronavirus.
A majority of Kenyans, he added, are still not aware of what they can do to minimize the risk of being infected with the virus. Many more do not know what the symptoms of the virus are, beyond the normal coughing.
The government should launch a major campaign, similar to those carried out “when asking Kenyans to register for elections, to register for the hopeless Huduma Namba or to vote for particular candidates in elections”.
“Radio for example, especially the Kiswahili and the vernacular stations, should be compelled to participate in this campaign as a national duty. The ongoing SMS campaign should be made in Kiswahili which is the national language.
“The private media should also be controlled, so that they report actual infections and not mere suspected cases. Their sensational reportage for the sake of traffic and profits only ends up causing unnecessary and dangerous panic.”