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Security to be beefed up during first Christmas under curfew


A heavy presence of security officers will be deployed countrywide during this year’s festive season as the country prepares to mark Christmas and New Year under curfew.

Inspector General of Police (IG) Hillary Mutyambai on Tuesday said police officers had been given strict orders to ensure no one is contravening Covid-19 protocols without fear or favour.

“Curfew time will be fully enforced, at 10pm everyone should be indoors,” said the IG.

Mr Mutyambai was speaking during a press conference at his Jogoo House office accompanied by National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) director general George Njao and Kenya Prison Service commissioner general Wycliffe Ogalo.

Mr Ogalo said the Kenya Prison will also deploy some of its officers to help Kenya Police officers maintain order during the festive season.

“Security starts with an individual, I therefore urge all officers and the citizenry to work together and share all information that may assist us preempt crimes,” he said.

On his part, NTSA director general George Njao reiterated that officers manning roadblocks this festive season will act tough against excess passengers in Public Service Vehicles (PSVs).

He warned members of the public not to board any PSV which will be defying the Covid-19 directives from the Ministry of Health by exceeding the recommended number of passengers.

“There shall be impromptu checks along major highways. To avoid any inconveniences, we urge motorists and passengers to adhere to all road safety standards and requirements of the Traffic Act. Of special emphasis will be flagging out of illegal operations contrary to the Traffic Act such as overloading, use of un-prescribed identification plates, failure to use seatbelts, drunk driving, use of un-roadworthy vehicles among others,” Mr Njao said.

Last week, the IG recalled all police officers on leave to beef security during the festive season.

Mutyambai said his officers will enhance patrols citing the 2020 festive season’s uniqueness as the reason why police officers on leave were recalled.

“Members of the public should adhere and exercise personal responsibility so that they can prevent further spreading of the Covid-19 disease,” the IG said.

His remarks come weeks after the government placed a Sh20,000 instant fine for anyone found flouting the MOH protocols as motorists driving past the 10pm curfew risking having their licenses revoked.

Mr Njao noted that in the past few weeks NTSA had recorded an increase in accidents compared to last year and urged all motorists to be extra vigilant to tame road carnage.

As of December 13, general statistics documented by police and NTSA showed road fatalities between January and December stood at 3,663, compared to 3,508, during the same period last year.

These road deaths came despite reduced travel as a result of the partial lockdown imposed earlier this year due to Covid-19, the ongoing curfew, and more people working from home.

155 people lost their lives in just ten days compared to 107 from the same period last year.

In contrast, 109 people succumbed to Covid-19 related complications during that period.

Mr Njao blamed drink driving, overloading, speeding, driver fatigue, use of un-roadworthy vehicles, dangerous overtaking, lack of proper lane discipline, freewheeling among other human controllable factors as some of the reasons the fatalities have been high.

All indications are that the usually high energy and pompous festive season will be low-key this year.

To usher in the festivities, churches usually hold night vigils and extravaganzas that are sometimes beamed live across media stations but this year most of this will not happen as Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc on human kind.

Save for the church services, which must have a limited number of people for a limited time, Christmas worship and cantata will be different this time.

In November, President Uhuru Kenyatta extended the country’s nightly curfew until January 3 and to run from 10pm to 4am as cases in the country continued surging.

Additionally, the head of state suspended all political rallies and gatherings for two months as restaurants, bars and eateries were directed to observe stringent measures and close by 9pm.

Kenya has recorded a total of 94,614 confirmed Coronavirus cases and 1,644 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Health.