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Data doesn’t back Kenyan transport minister’s claim that road crashes have claimed more lives in the country than Covid 19

IN SHORT: In a briefing on road safety, Kipchumba Murkomen claimed that more lives have been lost on the road in Kenya in 2022 than during “the entire period of Covid”. This claim is not supported by the available data.

Is the number of deaths from road accidents in Kenya more than those from Covid-19 in the country?

This was the claim made by Kipchumba Murkomen. Kenya's cabinet secretary (CS) for transport, and which found its way to social media.

Murkomen shared this stat during a 20 December 2022 press briefing focused on road safety during the holiday period.  

According to the CS, road deaths were 4,449 “as at December”. This number was too high, he said, after giving a breakdown. 

The country publishes its roads data on a calendar year basis.

“We’ve lost actually [in] one year more [people] than the ones we lost in the entire period of Covid through accidents,” he said. This claim was nationally reported on.

But does the data show this? 

Covid not quite over

Kenya’s government publicly shares Covid-19 updates almost daily. The country’s first case was recorded on 12 March 2020. The updates show there are still positive tests for the disease, and deaths. Therefore it cannot be said that the pandemic is over. 

The closest Covid update to when Murkomen made his claim was on 21 December, a day later. This showed the total number of deaths was 5,688 - over a thousand more than claimed.

What other date can be considered? Kenya lifted the last of its restrictions on 11 March 2022. As of then, the total number of deaths was 5,644.  

 The available public data does not support the minister at the point he made the claim.

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