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CS Matiang’i: Letter claiming planned 21-day lockdown fake

By Mireri Junior | March 30th 2020

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i when he chaired a meeting between the two levels of government on March 30, 2020. [Courtesy]

Interior ministry has dismissed and termed fake a viral letter instructing Devolution department to develop plans for food distributions during a proposed 21-day lockdown in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i, urged Kenyans to ignore the letter dated March 30, saying it did not originate from his ministry.

"Our attention has been drawn to a letter circulating on social media purportedly from our Ministry,

"Members of the public are advised to regard this as utterly false," reads the statement CS Matiang'i.

The letter, purportedly signed Paul Famba and marked confidential with the ministry’s letterhead, appeared to indicate a looming 21-day lockdown in the wake of more cases of coronavirus.

"The National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee (NCDICC) in its meeting of March 24, 2020, directed the State Department of Devolution to develop plans for food distribution for possible 21-day lockdown,” read the letter.

"The State Department of Devolution plans to undertake supply of food ration to various Sub locations based on the number of persons affected," reads a section of the fake letter.

Earlier, the national government and the 47 counties announced a waiver on cess levies on foodstuff, essential household goods to facilitate movement and guarantee affordability in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic

“Counties shall forthwith waive cess levies on foodstuffs, essential household goods and critical supplies to facilitate efficient movement and guarantee affordability of these items as Kenya combats the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CS Matiang’i who chaired the meeting.

With Health CS Mutahi Kagwe on Monday evening announcing that the number of Kenyans with coronavirus have hit 50 after eight new cases, Kenyans suspect the government could be planning a complete lockdown in the next few weeks to contain the spread of the virus.

Kagwe said that from the latest data, the virus is being spread through community transmission and urged Kenyans to be more responsible than before to bolster the fight against the disease.

"From the above data, it is evident that the virus is being spread through community transmission. This now calls for a lot more personal responsibility among Kenyans in this fight against the disease," the CS said.

This, according to Kagwe, called for an "immediate" increase in the level of "alert and intervention measures".

Kagwe also directed bodaboda riders to carry only one passenger so as to "maintain some level of distance."

"Secondly, the bodaboda rider and the passenger must wear masks for protection," Kagwe said, adding that they will be distributing the face masks in the counties.

Police officers will enforce the directive.

"We are doing so to protect both the riders and their passengers. You can imagine how many people a rider has behind him each day," Kagwe said, "They have no idea who has the virus or does not."

He went on: "This is a measure so that the business can continue if it continues to follow the rules."

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