If there was a day Kenyans have recently looked forward to, it is today. This is the day the dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed on the country to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus is supposed to end after President Uhuru Kenyatta extended it for 21 days last month.
But recent statements by senior government officials have tended to dampen the expectations of a majority of Kenyans, with some resigning to the possibility of the perpetuation of the status quo or a new order with just slight changes.
Friday, Cabinet secretaries seemed to be managing the people’s high expectations, with hints that a wholesome opening of the economy could lead to a spike in Covid-19 cases and put the vulnerable members – such as old parents – at risk when they host their kin from the cities.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha Friday hinted that schools will not be opened any time soon.
“The ministry will advise the level of preparedness that will be required of all stakeholders involved in the running of schools and teacher training institutions,” he said.
Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho earlier in the week said the government was considering a phased easing of the Covid-19 restrictions to help people to generate incomes.
He said Kenyans should not expect a sudden return of normalcy.
President Kenyatta has also been facing pressure from religious leaders to open places of worship. Religious organisations have formally written to him asking for a review of the measures and promising to adhere to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.
Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and his Health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe met with religious leaders ahead of the handover of the report from the National Coordination Committee on Coronavirus to discuss how to proceed with religious activities in the event the government agrees to relax some of its guidelines.
Dr Matiang’i said the contents of the report will be communicated by the President.
Mr Kagwe urged religious leaders to assist in effecting home-based quarantine, a measure that the government is advocating as it moves to ease the Covid-19 restrictions.
Kenyans took to social media to express their optimism – and pessimism – about today’s speech by the President.
From making merry at entertainment joints to travel and reuniting with loved ones and lovers, expectations were so high that the hashtag #June6th was the number one trending topic locally on Twitter.
Tweeters filed their wishlists, a majority of which were hilarious.
Yet others just wanted the economy to be opened up.