By Lazarus Maitha in Mombasa County
Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi has allegedly refused to leave the Coast Provincial General Hospital after learning that DCI detectives and other law enforcement officers were camping outside the facility waiting to effect an arrest.
Saburi, a recovered coronavirus patient, is accused of refusing to self-quarantine for 14 days during the early days of his ailment.
The DG is said to have endangered the lives of tens of people he came into contact with after returning to Kilifi, Kenya from Germany.
On Thursday, April 2, Health Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe, announced that Saburi had recovered fully from coronavirus, and that upon being discharged from hospital, he will be charged with placing the lives of other citizens at risk.
Shortly after Saburi was arrested and taken into mandatory quarantine, Kagwe — during a press conference on March 22 — said the deputy governor will be charged under Public Health Act, 2012.
“This will apply to a senior government official in Kilifi who defied and refused to self-quarantine and who is now being forcibly quarantined in a facility. Upon completion of the period given by our health authorities, the official will be charged in a court of law,” Kagwe said on March 22.
Part 4, Section 28 (a) of the Public Health Act states that: “Any person who while suffering from any infectious disease, willfully exposes himself without proper precautions against spreading the said disease in any street, public place, shop, inn or public conveyance, or enters any public conveyance without previously notifying the owner, conductor or driver thereof that he is so suffering, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding thirty thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both.”
CS Kagwe, during a press briefing at Afya House on April 2, repeated that Saburi, whom he had confirmed to be coronavirus negative after spending time in quarantine, will be arrested and charged.
“The Deputy Governor of Kilifi County, whom we placed under mandatory quarantine, has fully recovered. He has been declared fit after being subjected to three tests, all of which turned negative. The law will now take effect on him,” said Kagwe.
And, on Friday, April 3, a contingent of DCI detectives and other police officers were assigned the task of arresting the DG, who had been admitted at the Coast Provincial General Hospital in Mombasa.
The law enforcement officers arrived at the facility a few minutes past 11am to effect the arrest, but Saburi, who had already been cleared to leave the hospital, refused to get out of the ward.
As at the time of publishing this story, the detectives, who were wearing face masks, were still camping outside the hospital waiting to pounce on the suspect.