Curfew, lockdown renders Nairobi residents jobless and worst yet to come-study reveals

President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the nation on the coronavirus pandemic from State House, Nairobi on June 6, 2020. [PSCU, Standard]

The lockdown imposed in Nairobi Metropolitan area coupled with the dusk to dawn curfew has rendered the majority of Nairobi’s low-income earners living on the edge jobless, a study has revealed.

According to a survey by TIFA Research, which was released on Sunday; at least 2.5 million people in Nairobi have had their sources of income disrupted as a result of enforcing containment measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The survey is titled “Covid-19 Global Pandemic in Nairobi’s Low-Income Areas: Opinion on the Nairobi Area Travel Restriction and Curfew” and was conducted in Huruma, Kibera, Mathare, Korogocho, Mukuru kwa Njenga, and Kawangware before President Uhuru Kenyatta’s address on June 6.

According to its findings, 75 per cent of the respondents confessed to having lost a job or a source of revenue due to the imposed lockdown and curfew. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics states that Nairobi has 4.3 million, where 2.5 million of them reside in informal settlements preferable for low-income earners.  In reference to the study findings, the majority of city dwellers could be facing starvation owing to their disrupted sources of livelihood.

The study further reveals that the majority of Nairobi dwellers, 59 per cent, had hoped that President Uhuru Kenyatta would do away with partial curfew and lockdown to allow normalcy. On the other hand another opposing group comprising 39 per cent supported the extension of the deadline for the restrictions arguing that there are still dangers of spreading the virus.

“A clear majority of respondents had hoped that the President would announce an end to both the travel ban and night curfew. Still, more than one-third held the opposite view,” the study read in part.

However, it is not only the grim economic environment that saddens the city dwellers. Of those interviewed, 59 per cent of them expect the situation to worsen as a whopping 76 per cent of them expect a higher rise in criminal cases due to lost jobs.

The study states: “Only one-third of all respondents believe that “the worst is passed”, while nearly twice as many expect that the “worst is yet to come” regarding the situation of the Covid-19 virus in the country. By contrast, very few expect the current situation to remain unchanged.”

Beside this is another 57 per cent of those interviewed who expressed their worry of contradicting the coronavirus. In an urban setting surviving on a 24-hour economy where people work around the clock, some of the respondents attributed their financial troubles to the curfew. According to the study, majority of the respondents concluded that the curfew failed to yield medical results in the fight against coronavirus.

“The Nairobi travel ban has had somewhat less of an impact, though two-thirds indicate it has had a similar negative impact,” study reveals.

It comes barely 24 hours after President Uhuru announced the extension of deadlines for lockdowns in Nairobi Metropolitan area and Mombasa to enforce the contain measures. The President also extended the curfew for an extra 30 days but adjusted the time. It now runs from 9 pm to 4 am instead of the initial 7 pm to 5 am. Kenya’s coronavirus cases clocked 2600 after at least 100 new cases were noted yesterday.