Why the health of a president is always kept secret

The health records of top politicians is always kept under the wraps

The late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta had a heart condition that was kept secret even when he suffered a mild stroke in 1968, and he refused to be fitted with a heart pacer. He always had a team of nurses in an ambulance fitted with oxygen tanks following him "just in case."

Mzee Jomo also had eyesight problems but preferred having his speeches written in large fonts than be caught dead wearing eyeglasses.

His predecessor, retired president Daniel arap Moi caused a near-panic in 1996 when he went for a cataract operation in Israel owing to the fact that Kenyans were used to him making news headlines.

Failing health

Such is the secrecy regarding their health records that one would not even know when current President Uhuru Kenyatta is taken ill.

And there are a number of factors that point to this including the fact that one provision of removing an incumbent is pegged on failing health.

There are chances that state security may be be compromised when the failing health of a president becomes public knowledge.

Retention of power

Former First Lady Mama Lucy Kibaki's health was also kept under the hat even when she was in critical condition at the Nairobi Hospital. She died shortly after being flown to Bupa Cromwell Hospital, England, in April 2016.

George Musamali, a security analyst who provides VIP protection services, argues that keeping a leader’s health record under wraps is vital in "retaining power."

“It is only in dictatorial regimes where people want to cling to power by making the president ‘immortal.’ There is no good reason why a VIP’s health should be kept secret,” Musamali told The Standard.

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