Kenya reported it’s the first case of COVID-19 on 13th March 2020, it declared all schools shut, sending all its citizens into a panic, the streets became ghostly, barely three months into the fight, the country’s tactics only seem to add salt to injury due to corruption.
The Failed Dusk to Dawn Curfew
Kenya has been on a dusk to dawn curfew for more than the last two months but events that have been taking place suggest otherwise, the latest being the road crash that claimed Kikuyu Benga artist James Githinji, ‘Wayuni’.
The dusk to dawn curfew in Kenya has only been enacted on paper with authorities most likely imagining Kenyans have been scared to be indoors by nightfall.
The death of the Kikuyu Benga artist ‘Wayuni’ in a night crash in Githurai opens eyes to one fact, the curfew that was declared to continue in Kenya a fortnight ago by President Uhuru Kenyatta is not being implemented.
Wayuni, may his soul rest in peace, is just but an example of the many Kenyans that still meander at night despite the curfew, his only became notable because he was unfortunate to have been involved in an accident.
County, Area Lockdowns Are A Sham
When President Uhuru Kenyatta declared that Nairobi, Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa’s cessation of movement that would hinder movement into and out of the County, residents of these counties began migrating before it could be effected.
It was a Presidential order and nobody imagined that guard would be lowered after some time, food trucks that hid people in attempts to ferry them past were caught, shamed on social media, and legal action is taken.
Barely a month later, Kenyans have crafted ways of bending the rules regardless of whose life they put at risk and this is clearly evidenced in the spread of the COVID-19 virus to other counties.
Siaya county for example did not have to worry about having the COVID-19 virus spreading fast among its people until two people unscrupulous found a letter permitting them to travel from Kibera to Siaya.
The two Kenyans, without knowing that they had been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, began their journey and were allowed past barriers thanks to the letter permitting them to attend a burial in Siaya only to get there and begin experiencing the symptoms.
Siaya’s first case of COVID-19 night would not have been had if the two had not traveled form Kibera and the government’s leniency in this is simply to blame, it created a loophole.
Another evidence of failing road barriers in Kenya meant to stop the movement from Nairobi and the other prohibited counties are the case of a Meru man who managed to travel from Nairobi to Meru where he sealed his wife’s genitals using superglue.
When watching police say on national television that the Meru man managed to slip the barriers simply sounds sheepish as they are the same people entrusted with ensuring there is no movement in and out of the capital.
Kenyans easiest trick to bypass the barriers is easy, ‘dress smartly and look rich’, which makes the Kenyan authorities mandated with ensuring there is no movement in and out of the listed counties look ignorant at a time the country is faced with a crisis.
While grocery shopping at Ngara market, a boda boda guy walks to the mama mboga I am buying from and the lady asks him, “ did you manage to get what you wanted in Eastleigh?” the guy replies, “I have just come from the place, as long as you shake their hands, you are good”.
The shock his statement registers in my head leaves me feeling nab and I literally scrub my groceries with soap when I later arrive home.
Going to Eastleigh, whose lockdown is being enhanced by a few youngsters from the Nation Youth Service (NYS) and two to three cops will reveal to you how much we are willing to trade lives for…a hundred shillings or a mere 50 shillings could get you and out.
The guy bribing his way into and out of Eastleigh does not care of those he will come into contact with and whether he is likely to catch and spread the virus, after all, he is in his youth and will probably survive it but what of the police whose oath is to protect lives?! Corruption needs to be uprooted off his soul.
The Masks Fiasco
Sadly, Kenyans will be easily arrested and shoved into trucks that do not allow social distancing for not wearing masks.
Those who can afford to entice the pockets and continue the evil of corruption will find a way out though not before they will have been placed at a higher risk of catching COVID-19 by simply having thrown into the tracks.
So, even as the government tells Kenyans that we are fighting COVID-19, there is a deeper fight we must first win within ourselves so that our fight against COVID-19 can be won, it is the fight against corruption.
We need to sanitize our inner selves off corruption before we can even sanitize our physical for if that does not happen, we will have traded millions of lives and those lives will be of those dearest to us.
As you bribe your way past that barrier ask yourself, whose life is it worth? Is it your mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, or that ailing person you care for?