Just when you thought you had heard enough of weird by-laws from county assembly legislators (MCAs), something crazier emerges.
We have heard it all. In Kakamega County, an MCA unsuccessfully tried to lobby for legislation that outlaws indignifying the town by walking around in bathroom slippers.
He was almost run out of town by locals, most of whom have no qualms walking around in bathroom slippers. Down at the Coast, a Mombasa County Assembly legislator tried in vain to make it criminal for an individual to break wind in public, with many wondering how exactly they would collect evidence and successfully prosecute such cases.
In Kisumu County, the former Minority Whip Carolyne Owen toyed with the idea of making it illegal for women to sit astride on boda boda, claiming it amounted to indecency, especially now that most women expose their thighs. Or fire up the boda boda riders by ‘touching them inappropriately’, leading to accidents.
In Lamu County, a law was passed — but never implemented — banning cars and motorbikes from Lamu Old Town, with locals being urged to use donkeys as means of transport to promote the town’s ‘old school’ culture after UNESCO declared it a world heritage site in 2001.
Now, it looks like the term for the current MCAs may end on an even funnier note, if the bill that is on its way to the Kisumu County Assembly is anything to go by.
Expressing fury over his frustration in the fight against malaria, the county’s minister for health, Dr Ojwang Lusi, hinted at a law that incriminates use of mosquito nets — donated by government — for other uses such as fishing, fencing kitchen gardens or being preserved for special guests as family members brave mosquito bites before the upcoming elections.
According to the county official, negligence by the public was one of the major hindrances to the fight against the disease, a situation which has pushed the county to spend more than enough in managing the disease.
“We have encountered instances where villagers use mosquito nets for fishing, protecting vegetables in seedbeds as well as keeping them for visitors instead of using them to protect the intended people.
He said the bill was at an advanced stage, and would be subjected to public participation to adjust on the raft of punitive measures proposed as well as sensitise the public.
“Malaria is both preventable and treatable, and we are running a lot of programmes on malaria which we think the new law will protect,” he said.
Last week, the county government launched a net distribution programme which will see of over 700,000 insecticides treated mosquito nets given to over 1.3 million residents.
The county had a similar drive two years ago.
“This distribution is aimed at replacing the previously distributed nets, which could have been worn out, and this time around we have dedicated our efforts to ensuring that the nets are used as recommended,” said Lusi.
Records from the county health department indicate that malaria diagnosis account for 30 per cent of outpatient cases in the area, and a further 19 per cent of all inpatient admissions, with children and pregnant mothers being the major victims.
These statistics, according to Dr Lusi, are still way below the county government’s targets as measured against the intervention.