NAIROBI’S governor Mike Sonko has added the popular alcoholic drink Hennessy to the list of essential relief items he is handing out to Kenyans during the coronavirus lockdown period claiming it is an effective throat sanitizer.
Kenya, like most other countries has introduced a lockdown to prevent the spread of the pandemic but the capital Nairobi is particularly vulnerable because of its massive slums. Kibera for instance, is a neighbourhood of Nairobi that is 6.6km from the city centre that is the largest urban slum in Africa.
Kibera is estimated to have a population of between 500,000 and 1m, with many of them living with ailments such as HIV/Aids. Across the sprawling ghetto, cases of assault and rape are commonplace, there are few schools, most people cannot afford education for their children, clean water is scarce and diseases caused by poor hygiene are prevalent.
It is Mr Sonko’s job to provide all these poor people with palliatives during the lockdown, which he has been doing by handing them Covid-19 relief packages. Mr Sonko, who is known for his flamboyant persona and style of dress, confirmed the inclusion of the cognac Hennessy in care packages implying that the drink may have medicinal properties, referring to it as throat sanitizer.
According to Mr Sonko, research from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other bodies supposedly stated that alcohol plays a major role in killing the coronavirus. However, WHO has debunked this, stating that alcohol is not effective in fighting coronavirus and has recommended that people limit alcohol intake during the present times.
A WHO spokesman said: “Fear and misinformation have generated a dangerous myth that consuming high-strength alcohol can kill the Covid-19 virus. It does not.”
Hennessy has also responded to Mr Sonko’s claim, adding that the consumption of its product or any other alcoholic beverage does not protect against the virus. Across Kenya, doctors have warned Kenyans to refrain from consuming the alcohol at the moment.
This is not the first time the Nairobi governor has faced controversy. He was brought up on corruption charges last year, which led to him having to relinquishing some of his governing responsibilities to the federal government.