Kenyans warned to break curfew at their own peril
By Cyrus Ombati
| March 27th 2020
Police have warned travellers to plan their trips beforehand to ensure they are not caught in transit when the dusk to dawn curfew kicks off tonight.
This as authorities yesterday mobilised resources to implement the lockdown imposed by the Government as part of measures to stem the spread of coronavirus disease across the country.
“We have prepared well and are now ready. We urge for cooperation from all concerned parties for the sake of our safety,” said Inspector General of police Hillary Mutyambai.
Sources revealed that police bosses had been holed up in a meeting to determine what would happen if, for instance, a motorist’s car broke down in the course of a journey and they were caught outside during the 7pm-5am curfew.
But authorities were emphatic that curfew meant just that: stay indoors for the duration, and warned stern action would be taken against violators.
Police commanders were ordered to map out places where they would need to deploy more resources. This is because it is not clear how long the curfew will last, and if there will be more measures to be imposed in the coming days.
More lorries, food and personnel were moved ahead of the lockdown. For instance, about 500 police officers of the ranks of senior sergeant, corporal and constable who were moved to various stations on Monday were ordered to report to work.
“The Deputy Inspector General of Kenya Police has approved the deployment of the following officers with immediate effect,” read part of a police memo.
Mutyambai also ordered about another 2,000 officers on leave to report back to active duty immediately. “We will ensure there is stability during this period, and all orders issued by the national government are adhered to,” he said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta imposed the countrywide curfew as part of measures to stem the spread of coronavirus.
“Effective Friday, 27th March, 2020; a daily curfew from 7pm to 5am shall be in effect in the territory of the Republic of Kenya, with all movement by persons not authorised to do so or not being medical professionals, health workers, critical and essential services providers, being prohibited between those hours,” said Uhuru on Wednesday.
Police have also been ordered to implement a health directive on public service vehicles in efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe had ordered the PSVs to reduce passenger capacity by half to minimise further spread of the virus.
“Fourteen-seater matatus will carry a maximum of eight passengers, 25-seater vehicles a maximum of 15 passengers, 30-seater vehicles and above to maintain a 60 per cent passenger capacity. When this happens, it is expected that people will adhere to the directions of the PSV operators” said Kagwe.
The CS further instructed matatu and bus operators to clean and disinfect their vehicles at the end of each trip. He said the new guidelines would similarly extend to commuter trains plying routes across the country.
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