It’s ‘parte after parte’ as Kenyans devise ways to beat cessation orders
The Easter weekend provided defiant Kenyans with an excuse to devise ways of beating the law on cessation of movement in and out of some counties and the ban on social drinking.
The erection of roadblocks to stop the movement of Kenyans in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa Kwale and Kilifi counties was tested to the limit, piling pressure on the police.
The ban on operation of bars and nightclubs also appeared to do little to stop cheeky Kenyans from holding parties, which were moved to houses.
Those who were adventurous enough partied in parks, even along the road. Security agencies had a rough time tracking down those breaking the law, eventually arresting dozens.
A magistrate and an MP are among those expected to be charged today for violating the curfew. Magistrate Emily Olwande of Limuru Law Courts and Embakasi Central MP Benjamin Mwangi are out on police bail.
Ms Olwande was arrested at a house party in Embakasi. Police are said to have also arrested 16 people who the magistrate had reportedly hosted for a birthday party.
Mr Mwangi was arrested at a tavern in Ruai, where he was drinking with 25 others.
Government Spokesman Colonel (rtd) Cyrus Oguna said it is regrettable that police have to be on the road enforcing a curfew meant to protect the same people from the deadly disease.
He faulted Kenyans for lack of discipline and disobeying a government order that’s for their own good.
“It shouldn’t be about police arresting anyone or mounting roadblocks to stop people from moving around. It should be about people obeying these directives like avoiding crowded places, washing hands regularly and staying indoors,” Mr Oguna said.
“This is meant to protect all of us from this disease. We are telling people to obey curfew and cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi to protect themselves and their loved ones.”
Those hell-bent on flouting the movement ban have resorted to bribing police officers at roadblocks and using irregular routes.
In parts of Naivasha, residents said they had witnessed people trespassing private homes to trek and await vehicles belonging to essential services companies.
“These people come with ambulances, newspaper circulation vehicles, supermarket vehicles and other cars that are allowed to operate. When they approach the roadblock, they alight and trespass homes along the roads then get to those vehicles ahead,” said Mr Edwin Kambutu, a resident.
Apart from noting that several motorists from Nairobi were using the Ruai-Soko Mjinga-Kinangop route, the Nation also witnessed several drivers giving bribes to police at several roadblocks mounted between Nyandarua and Nakuru County, including Delamere, Satellite, and Kariandusi.
A driver supplying goods from Thika to a supermarket in Nakuru confessed that he had been carrying at least three unauthorised passengers from Nairobi to Nakuru.
“I charge at least 1,500 per passenger. Most of them are referrals from friends who I work with. Several people are doing this. Along the way, there are many roadblocks and we have to look for a way to beat them. Either by the passengers disguising as employees or by bribing the officers,” the driver said.
Another motorist – who sought anonymity – revealed how he parted with Sh4,000 to beat a police roadblock near Kinare before being allowed to travel to Nakuru.
Meanwhile, a number of matatus continue ferrying passengers from Nairobi, who are dropped at various places such as Ngarariga.
They proceed on foot to evade roadblocks placed at Nyambare and Kinare. When contacted, Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya promised to take action.
“Kindly share the roadblocks with me; I will visit the places to know what is happening,” he told the Nation.
In Laikipia and Nyandarua, travellers seeking to go in and out of Nairobi are using Kenyatta Road, which traverses several counties, to Thika town.
Nyandarua County Commissioner Boaz Cherutich said police have since mounted roadblocks along the route.