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Kenyan Governor Slammed Over Plans To Include Hennessy In COVID-19 Care Packages

Mike Sonko

Nairobi’s Senator Mike Sonko speaks to the media after casting his vote for the Jubilee Party primaries election on April 26, 2017 in Nairobi, to choose candidates ahead of parliament and local government.<br /> Sonko is running for gubernatorial race for the city Nairobi. / AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP via Getty Images)

Negative reactions have trailed a Kenyan governor’s proposed plan to include “small bottles of Hennessy” along with the food packages to be distributed to the poor as coronavirus relief packages.

Governor Mike Sonko presented the plans during a Tuesday media briefing. According to Sonko, he has a logical reason for handing out care packages including 100ml bottles of Hennessy.


Sonko said in a clip, tweeted by Citizen TV Kenya.

“From the research which has been conducted by World Health Organization (WHO) and various health organizations, it has been revealed that alcohol plays a very major role in killing the coronavirus or any sort of virus,” he said during the presser.

He goes on to refer to the alcohol content in hand sanitizers and its disinfectant properties as part of his reasoning.

“If you take any sanitizer and check the alcohol content, you’ll find this to be true,” he explained.

Reacting to the governor’s statement, many have described his statement as “irresponsible.”

Mike Sonko NYP

Mike Sonko | New York Post

In response, Anne-Claire Delamere, Hennessy Kenya’s general manager released a statement saying:

“Hennessy would like to stress that the consumption of our brand or any other alcoholic beverage does not protect against the virus.

In line with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health Kenya (MoH), Hennessy advises on washing hands regularly with soap and water or hydro-alcoholic gels, wearing face masks, practicing social distancing and staying at home.”

Dr. Githinji Gitahi, the global CEO of Amref Health Africa, condemned Sonko in a tweet.

“Please completely ignore clowning of a major global pandemic taking lives & putting extreme pressure on households,” he wrote. “Dump this the way you would dump your used #COVID19 #mask — never to be recovered! @MOH_Kenya needs to condemn this as this is not an ordinary citizen!”

On a good note, Sonko did include some very useful items in his care packages. Families will receive food, hand sanitizer, masks, cleaning products, and other household basics to go along with their Henny.

Sonko is also working with officials to turn the Kenyan government’s ban on unofficial direct distribution of food due to a stampede leaving dozens injured last Friday.

In order to disinfect and protect against COVID-19, WHO recommends that alcohol-based sprays, wipes, and hand sanitizers have an alcohol content of at least 70%

Hennessy, like many cognac brands, only has an alcohol content of 40%, which is not strong enough to kill viruses.  The World Health Organization has said that drinking alcohol does not protect against the coronavirus and that frequent or excessive alcohol use can even increase the risk of health problems.

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