Covid -19: Where are the Kenyan billionaires? We need help!

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According to Knight Frank global wealth report released on 4th March 2020, Kenya has 42 billionaires worth more than Sh3 billion and another 9,600 ultra wealthy individuals worth hundreds of millions.

Kenya is also home to multi-billion corporations making billions in profits every year, this group include Teleco giant Safaricom, Kenya Commercial Bank, Equity Bank, NCBA bank, brookside among others.

With this kind of financial war chest, the government in conjunction with the ultra rich individuals and companies should join the fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus by donating funds for medication, procuring food supplies for the poor in case of total lock down, procuring surgical masks and hand sanitizer for those unable to obtain them and where applicable funding the retrofitation of hotels and schools into makeshift hospitals in preparation for the overwhelming of traditional medical facilities which is likely to come.

Safaricom and other Telecom and financial companies makes billions of profit because of the millions of Kenyans who now face a catastrophe, waving transaction fees and agreeing to renegotiate loans are not enough help at this time. These companies must now join the whole country in the trenches and fight this pandemic from the front lines by providing financial support towards the purchase of face masks, ventilators, treatment drugs and any other materials necessary for this struggle.

Kenyan billionaires must also join in because if half of the population is lost, they won’t have customers to sell to and their fortunes will suffer unimaginable setback should the crisis go beyond a year. The only way of shortening the crisis hold on the country is by fighting together.

Religious groups must also not remain behind, even as they pray, churches and mosques should join in the fight by offering their premises to the destitute who lack homes to stay in during lock down, the homeless and the street boys. Churches and mosques can also help by being food distribution centers in their localties, screening centres to aid in mass testing of the population to help in curbing the virus spread through early testing and isolation.

Churches commanding large amounts of wealth should also donate funds and food at county level to cushion the common man from the biting economic consequences of an incoming total lock down.

Finally, the common citizen, the hoi poloi the you and I, should join the fight by adhering to government instructions regarding prevention of Covid -19. This is done by staying at home, avoiding contact, adhering to social distancing, washing hands and looking out for each other.

in this time of crisis, it’s imperative that we come together as a nation because ladies and gentlemen:

“We are stronger together! “

John Otieno

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