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Unusual Kenya Prisons pass-out parade without customary pomp and fanfare

A decision not to invite relatives and visitors for today’s recruits pass-out parade at the Kenya Prisons Staff Training College in Ruiru has drawn mixed reactions.

The pass out parade, which will be graced by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, was initially scheduled to take place on Wednesday but a communication made by Mr Kennedy Aluda Communication Manager Prison department moved it to today.

“Regarding the above-mentioned subject, please note that the pass-out parade has been rescheduled to August 13, 2020 as from 0900 hrs,” the communication reads in part.

Nairobi News has learnt that the Prisons department is planning to hold a pass-out which will lack the fanfare that is always witnessed whenever such a function is held.

In the internal communication, the trainees were asked not to invite any of their relatives or friends to the function due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Trainees will not be allowed to invite their relatives or parents; this will be in tandem with the presidential directive on social gatherings and congregations,” reads part of the communication.

The communication further stated that there will be no shaking of hands with the chief guest and other visitors who have been invited.

NEW ARRANGEMENT

This new arrangement has prompted mixed reactions from trainees.

Some officers feel that it would be fair if the invited guests are tested for Coronavirus before they are given a nod to attend the function due to the disease that saw other institutions across the country closed instantly.

Yesterday, the Nation exclusively retrieved a video footage which captured the officers’ training as they wore face masks and maintained social distance.

All staff and trainees at the institution have already undergone a mandatory Covid-19 test which came to an end yesterday.

This means that only those who will test negative will be given a nod to attend the event.

Only selected trainees will be allowed to participate in the parade and march which was scheduled to take place very early even before guests arrive.

HIT BY PANDEMIC

On Monday, the trainees were conducting a march ahead of the event in the usual number of 34 officers per platoon but only 20 officers per platoon will grace today’s event.

While marching only 20 platoons will march past the dias in both quick and slow time moves. In addition, the distance between trainees has also been adjusted to one and a half meters.

The best trainees shall be acknowledged by the chief guest who will only inspect the first row of trainees unlike the past when they inspect all the rows.

The first pass-out of such a manner was conducted in July, when Gen Robert Kibochi, who is the Chief of Defence Forces, presided over the pass-out parade of Specialist Cadet Officers at the Kenya Military Academy in Gilgil in a function not attended by relatives and friends.

The prison department has also been hit by the pandemic with tens of prisoners testing positive for Covid-19. This has seen the department halt the taking in of prisoners until they are tested for the virus.

As of Wednesday a total of 679 people tested positive for the virus increasing the country’s caseload to 28,104.