Life in Mombasa’s Old Town is gradually returning to normal five months after a lockdown was imposed to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Earlier in the year, as Covid-19 cases continued to rise, Old Town was identified by the Health Ministry as a coronavirus hot spots, and movement restrictions were implemented in the town for 15 days from May 6.
Prior to the lockdown, the estimated 60,000 residents of the town, also called Mji wa Kale, battled another kind of problem: knife-wielding criminal gangs.
But the lockdown appears to have reawakened the residents. Huge metallic gates are now being erected on the main entrances or exits of the century-old suburb.
Residents and traders say they want to fortify the area to protect it from criminals.
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Mbwana Abdalla, the chair of Old Town Residents Association, said the residents have come up with several plans to improve their security and safety.
Mombasa Old Town, which has 10 distinct villages and stretches from Fort Jesus to Aldina Visram, has started bubbling with life.
Fort Jesus has opened its doors for business with the museum getting limited number of visitors.
Officials say they are now getting about 200 guests per day.
Fatma Twahir, the chief curator said in good times, the museum received upto 200,000 visitors per year.
“We will recover after Covid-19,” said Twahir in a recent interview.
Mohamed Khamis, the chair of Kibokoni Welfare Group, said they have mounted 15 CCTV cameras on the major entrances to the area.
“We raise funds every month and this has helped us install CCTVs cameras on 15 gates to boost our security,” he explained.
The group has also ensured there are working street lights and they recently sunk a borehole and installed a desalination plant to provide clean drinking water to residents.
“We started the CCTV project with the funds from the constituency kitty three years ago but we have since upgraded the cameras and are working on a number of initiatives including beautification of Kibokoni area,” he said.