President Uhuru Kenyatta's communication team has come under criticism over confusing messaging regarding the latest order banning travel in a number of counties that have been most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
President Kenyatta, in his speech, said there would be a cessation of movement within the Nairobi Metropolitan area, Kwale, Mombasa, and Kilifi counties for a period of 21 days.
In the same speech, the head of state said the ban affected movement into and out of the affected countries thus causing confusion even among government agencies.
It took the intervention of State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita to clarify that the ban was meant to cease movement into and out of the affected areas while movement within those counties would continue uninterrupted.
[The cessation of movement within Nairobi Metropolitan Area shall be for an initial containment period of 21 days; with effect from 7:00 pm on Monday, 6th April, 2020.
II. The movement within the Nairobi Metropolitan Area and the Counties of Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa shall continue subject to the nationwide curfew] - the contradictory statements in President Uhuru's speech.
"Please note :- Movement WITHIN the Nairobi Metro Area as defined in the Legal G.N. is PERMITTED subject to existing curfew,wearing of face masks & social distancing. What is PROHIBITED is movement IN TO & OUT OF the gazetted area for the period of 21 days effective 7.00pm tonight," Waita said while clarifying the President's message.
Despite the clarification, the confusion escalated after the Government Spokesman started tweeting explainers to President Kenyatta's speech.
Some of the tweets caused more confusion as they contradicted the President's own speech including indicating that the ban in Nairobi would be effected from Wednesday 7pm. The government spokesperson later deleted the tweets without offering an apology.
"I love writing. I regret that i cant churn op-eds like I used to do before I joined parliament. One of the greatest speech writers I have met is one Eric Ng'eno especially after a 2014 Speech at AU Summit ‘reclining imperial powers’. I miss Eric. Im sure am not alone in this," Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria opined.
"The Government of Kenya and specifically State House needs a Director of Communication. Someone whose work is to think through messaging and manage it. You can't have the Government Spokesman contradicting the National Security Council. Surely," journalist Oliver Mathenge complained.