Seems like the National Police Service…oops Force and Kenya security agencies in general don’t understand what a directive means.
During his boring 40 minutes talking about a lockdown, i.e. that no one is allowed to move in and out of Nairobi Metropolitan Area, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties, president Uhuru Kenyatta stated that Miraa among other perishable goods must not be stopped from being moved around.
On Clause 41, he stated ‘Similarly, I encourage our traders and farmers in fresh produce to continue with their agricultural activities, so as to ensure continued supply of the farm produce to our markets. Such farm produce embody the diversity of Kenya includes; Rice, Beans, Maize, Potatoes, Cabbages, Miraa (khat), tomatoes, bananas and other food items’.
However, miraa traders in various parts of the country are complaining about being arrested and extorted by the police. In fact, it is reported in the mainstream media that Navy Soldiers (KDF) in Lamu intercepted boats ferrying miraa worth Sh25m to Somalia, confiscate the consignment and set it on fire.
In a classic British colonial hangover of keeping the masses poor, the Kenyan Govt has not hesitated to also close open-air markets.
“Instead of taking time to construct better aerated and planned markets, the government has closed most markets in areas perceived as not aligned”, stated a twitter user.
Some argue that markets in Western Kenya (purported govt opposition areas) have been closed with brute force yet those in Central Kenya remain open. Uhuru’s half lockdown measures are also evident, all is to protect his political base.
What was the NIS briefing that he received that made him address his constituents in Kikuyu?
“My hypothesis is that leaders in Mt. Kenya regions are more cautious in how they handle the economic issues affecting their people. They temper policy with pragmatism. This caution leads to more deliberation before action is taken. This is contrary to the other regions. This Mt. Kenya ‘economic caution’ is perhaps the reason the country remains still open despite all the ‘lockdown talk’. Pres. Uhuru has been very deliberate in avoiding a hurried shutdown, which tallies with the general response by leaders of his Mt. Kenya region. When this is over, the resulting economic inequalities and poverty will most definitely follow the same pattern. Regions that shut down commerce with attendant highhandedness and arrogance will be more affected than regions that allowed a level of commerce to thrive”, the former ODM Party Deputy Director of Communications wrote on Twitter.
On the abrupt lockdown, most Kenyans were caught unawares and yesterday, a video emerged showing some people, in ungoverned spaces, using foot to cross over from other areas into Nairobi metropolitan area.
KenyanBulletin.com understands that Mandera Governor Ali Roba suspended transportation and sale of Miraa because it poses high risk of Coronavirus transmission in March, however, why would a president give a different directive? Trying to appease his political base?
Can the government get its act together and issue clear guidelines on how the lockdown and even curfew should be handled.
Below, a day ago, Police stopping boats and confiscating Miraa in the coast, despite Uhuru encouraging continued farming of the product.