The government has relocated a roadblock that had been erected at Kamulu area, Nairobi as part of the isolation of the Nairobi Metropolitan area in the fight against coronavirus.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi and Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai visited the site on Tuesday evening and ordered it be moved to Koma area, which is almost 10 kilometers away after it emerged most of the affected live and work in Nairobi.
Most of the residents have bought land in the area and work in Nairobi.
The earlier roadblock had locked out thousands of people living in Kamulu, Chokaa, Malaa and Tala. The residents protested prompting Matiang’i and Mutyambai to visit the site.
“We have decided to move it a bit further to enable the residents operate freely. This was too close to Nairobi,” said the CS.
Matiang’i and his health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe later visited Rironi roadblock and urged officers manning it to inspect and allow lorries carrying foodstuffs to various places.
“We commended the personnel stationed at both sites and urged them to remain resolute in the enforcement of these new measures. The government encourages all Kenyans to comply with the new directives governing the movement of persons in an effort to combat this pandemic,” he said.
At the sites, officials found many blocked personal cars and lorries with occupants pleading with security personnel to allow them to proceed with their journeys.
Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho had earlier said they are not doing so to punish people but to help them from the deadly pandemic. “The government is not doing this to punish people, it is doing this to save people,” he said.
For instance, he said if one lives in Nyeri and works in Nairobi he or she has to stay there for the next 21 days.
Kibicho said multi-agency teams will man the roadblocks to ensure only designated vehicles are allowed to pass to meet the goals of the partial lockdown.
The teams will include police, ministry of health officials to check those allowed, national administrators and National Intelligence Service personnel.
“There will be no personal vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles that will be allowed through these roadblocks. Only vehicles carrying food with a driver and turnboy will be allowed and the owner has to give a letter to explain the contents of the vehicle,” he said.
The move follows a directive by President Uhuru to ban movements of people and vehicles in and out of Mombasa, Nairobi, Kwale and Kilifi counties as part of efforts to contain the spread.
The roadblocks within the Nairobi Metropolitan Area are erected at Small World in Athi River, Katani, Koma near Tala, Chania Bridge, Landless area on Garissa Road, Uplands, Rironi- Maì Mahiu Junction, Ngong, Kiserian, Isinya and Ting’ang’a.
In Mombasa, the roadblocks are at Makupa Causeway, Nyali Bridge at Lights, Likoni Ferry at the ramp, Lunga Lunga Road at Shika Adabu, Shanzu and Mtopanga.
Kibicho said in Kilifi County, the roadblocks will be erected at Sabaki Bridge, Mtwapa, Mariakani, Mavueni at Maji Ya Jumvi while in Kwale they will be at Kombani, Samburu and Lunga Lunga.
“If you live in Mtwapa and work in Mombasa you will not be allowed to go to Mombasa from Wednesday. Equally, apart from cargo ferrying across Likoni ferry, it won’t carry people for the next 21 days,” he added.
On Wednesday, many of those affected chose to walk across the roadblocks after being dropped by vehicles and hopped to different vehicles that waited on the other side.