National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has revealed that all Members of Parliament and Staff, who recently participated in voluntary testing exercise for COVID-19, tested negative for the virus.
The tests that sparked a heated debate on social media were carried out between 2nd and 4th April 2020 in the precincts of Parliament.
In a statement shared on the House’s social media handles, Muturi, however, called on the lawmakers from both the Senate and National Assembly to continue exercising safety measures to contain the spread of the contagious disease.
” I wish to confirm that for all the individuals who tested, including all Members of Parliament from both Houses and members of staff, there were, quite thankfully, I must say, NO confirmed COVID-19 cases, ” the speaker said in a communique dated Wednesday, April 22.
“However, Honourable Members, let me sound a word of caution. We should not relent and we must continue to uphold the sanitization measures including wearing of face masks at all times, hand-washing or use of hand sanitizers and observing strict social distancing, amongst other measures.”
Muturi noted that the Parliamentary Service Commission is in the process of organizing for another testing exercise.
He called on all lawmakers to turn up on a date to be communicated soon adding that no MP or member of staff will be charged for the tests.
“This exercise, which will be voluntary, is targeted at all Members of Parliament and all members of staff. Further, staff of contracted cleaning companies working in Parliament will also be required to be tested, ” he added.
“Honourable Members, I encourage all of you and all members of staff to take advantage of the opportunity to take the test that the Parliamentary Service Commission and the Ministry of Health are providing free of charge. The dates when the excise will be undertaken will be communicated as soon as practicable.”
The latest development comes weeks after reports surfaced online that 17 MPs had tested positive for COVID-19. The reports were denied by the Ministry of Health and the Speakers of the two Houses.
Lancet Group of Laboratories that carried the tests also termed the reports as “misleading”.
Lancet CEO and chief consultant pathologist Ahmed Kalebi said testing was voluntary and results were given to each MP in confidence.
“The information circulating in the media about COVID-19 confirmed cases at Parliament is completely incorrect, misleading and should be disregarded,” he said.
The false reports allegedly led to the suspension of Parliament sittings over fears of the virus spreading.
Nyali MP Mohamed Ali said the fake reports were meant to raise false alarm and stop members from discussing President Uhuru Kenyatta proposed measures meant to cushion Kenyans as the virus continues to cripple businesses.
Ali further claimed that some entities were trying to siphon funds meant to fight the virus by taking over the roles of the National Assembly.
“Someone wants to continue bypassing the constitution to siphon funds meant for CORONA. This is possible if parliament is not sitting so that they take over roles of NA and run everything through decree-Leak fake info of 17MP’s-Have a reason not to allow parliament to resume-Steal,” he wrote on Twitter.