Covid-19: Migori MPs demand closure of border post
By Rawlings Otieno | May 13th 2020
Political leaders from Migori County wants the border between Kenya and Tanzania at Isebania border be temporarily closed if the rising of numbers of Covid-19 cases in the country is to be managed.
The MPs decried that although the closure of the border will reduce trade within the area, it is necessary since Migori County health facilities will be overstretched if the Covid-19 cases soar.
The MPs Paul Abuor (Rongo), Walter Owino (Awendo), Mark Nyamita (Uriri), Peter Masara (Suna West), Kitayama Marwa (Kuria East), Dennitah Ghati (Nominated MP), Pamela Odhiambo (Woman Rep) and Senator Ochillo Ayacko asked Interior CS Fred Matiang’i to shut down operations at the border except to essential services.
At a press briefing yesterday, Ayacko said that there is need for greater intervention by the National Government in securing the common border with Tanzania in this period of Covid-19.
“We expressed concern at the fact that nearly all the positive cases registered in the county had a history of traveling to or from Tanzania. This is a matter of life and death. We must close the border and only allow movement of essential services,” said Ayacko.
In addition, the leaders demanded that the government must ensure that security apparatus in Migori County is well resourced in terms of the number of officers on the ground and the equipment needed to secure the border.
“We appeal for more security officers, more border monitoring points including temporary ones and more vehicles to ease the movement of security officers.”
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The lawmakers also decried about the raving floods and biting hunger in Migori county especially in Nyatike constituency.
“While we appreciate the interventions particularly provision of relief food, more needs to be done. There is need for both the National and County governments to embark on a permanent solution to this perennial issue.
Dr Odhiambo, the Migori Woman Rep called on Matiang’i to deploy the General Service Unit (GSU) wing of the police officers to the border at Isebania and any other small routes that the Kenyans and Tanzanians use in crossing the border.
“We want the border to be temporarily closed. If possible the Interior Ministry should deploy the GSU team to man the border points until the Covid-19 cases are addressed,” said Dr Odhiambo.
On the issue of floods, the legislators said that the government needs to adequately provide food assistance to the affected for most of the year, adding that the floods have interfered with farming activities and deprived thousands of people their livelihoods.
“We wish to assure our people that we are doing everything possible to ensure that that our unique position as a border county does not unfairly expose us to the disease and that the floods do not translate into more deaths and starvation in the months ahead. We remain optimistic that the government will continue standing with our people,” said Ayacko.
“We appeal the government to increase the amount and frequency of relief food rations to the county’s residents as a way of discouraging their dependence on cross border trade at this extremely risky moment, especially in Nyatike sub county, Suna West, Kuria West and Kuria East.”
And in order to effectively put Covid-19 in check, the leaders called on the National government rehabilitate all security roads along the Kenya-Tanzania boarder from Nyatike, Suna West, Kuria West, and Kuria East- Kilgoris.
They singled out Muhuru Bay-Olasi-Kopanga (On stop border post)-Masaria-Kitabaye (One stop boarder post)- Birayamiti-Mtemurabu- Isibania (One Stop boarder Post)- Masangora-Nyamtiro (One stop boarder post)- Senta- Kegonga- Kugitimo-Loliondo roads as those that needs rehabilitation.
They also asked the people, in all the eight constituencies, to continue working closely with the security agencies to detect and deter those defying government directives especially on the guidelines to prevent further spread of Covid-19.
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