According to the CAS, the very groups that were supposed to help raise awareness and ensure adherence to government directives relating to the global pandemic had now turned rogue.
“I want to thank the young people who have enrolled into this programme for the work they have done so far. Many areas in our neighbourhoods have been cleared and blocked drainage systems have been opened,
“However, even as we acknowledge the good work by our youth in this program. We have also observed a disturbing behaviour by some of these youth whereby some of them are forcefully demanding money from individuals within the neighbourhoods that they are cleaning,” he stated.
He then appealed to the special youth groups to respect the original intention of the programme and to reminded them their actions were illegal and would be dealt with as such.
“It is not only unacceptable but also unlawful to demand money. They should refrain from such practices,” CAS Aman asserted.
He also reminded the nation of the reason behind the governments’ move to empower and task these special groups as frontline soldiers in the battle against Covid-19.
“To effectively deal with the pandemic, the government initiated several programmes. One such program is the National Hygiene Initiative that targeted Covid-19 by improving hygiene standards within our neighbourhoods and environment,
“At the same time, the program aimed at economically empowering the youth who had been negatively impacted by the pandemic and the measures placed upon them as a result,” he explained.
However, the plan is currently teetering on collapse as some of the groups are accused of not only soliciting for money, but also robbing and harassing citizens within their areas of operation at will.
“I am equally concerned about the youth who are harassing and robbing commuters, under the pretext that such commuters are not wearing masks or observing social distancing,” the Health CAS remarked.
He reminded the youth that they must work within their limits to avoid a run-in with the law, emphasising that they were only tasked with encouraging adherence to government directives.
“They cannot act as police and enforce some of these things. They can only encourage adherence to the rules,” he announced, going on to state that their illegal acts were negating the gains the government has made in combating the spread of the virus.
On April 4, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, issued a rallying call to the youth of the country to enroll to the special unit and lead the fight against the virus in the frontline.
Speaking during the ministry’s daily Covid-19 briefing, CS Kagwe told the youth to join the government in creating awareness among Kenyans on the need to obey the directives.
“I wish to appeal to the youth to become part of the solution by taking certain measures that will bolster the fight against the disease,” he stated.
“We are not saying it is going to be easy, but we must start getting tough as the tough gets going hence we need the youth to secure this country,” he added.
President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the two-pronged National Hygiene Programme in an address to the nation on Saturday, April 25, saying it would create jobs for the youth and safeguard the environment.
The President said in the first phase of the programme, 26,000 youth would be engaged in the eight frontline counties with a target of 100,000 nationally over time.