• The order is meant to curtail all the night activities in order to curb further spread of Covid-19.
• The law allows the President is allowed to impose such measures if it is necessary for the preservation of public security.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday imposed the dusk-to-dawn curfew to reduce movement of people as one way to slow down an expected surge of coronavirus infections in Kenya.
In a televised address to the nation from State House on Wednesday, the President said the curfew was recommended by the National Security Council, which he chairs.
The 7 pm-5 am lockdown is the first national curfew since the late President Moi imposed a similar order after the August 1, 1982, abortive coup.
As security forces prepare to enforce the president’s order, some Kenyans are not quite sure what exactly this means and what will be expected from them.
In simple terms, the order is meant to curtail all the night activities in order to curb further spread of Covid-19.
The order is in accordance with the Law of Kenya section 57 on the Preservation of Public Security.
The President is allowed to impose such measures if it is necessary for the preservation of public security.
Uhuru made the decision following the request from the National Security Council in order to reduce further spread of the pandemic.
It is the second such national declaration to be made by a President since 1982.
The late president Daniel Arap Moi ordered dusk to dawn observation following an attempt to overthrow his government.
Residents of Tana Delta sub-county in Tana River are familiar with the 'curfew' term since the order was declared in 2019 following the abduction of a 23-year old Italian woman by suspected al Shabaab militants.
In 2018, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i issued three-month dusk to dawn curfew in Mt Elgon, Bungoma County following attacks to villages by an outlawed gang.
The CS later extended the curfew by one month and security officers were able to arrest key suspects including the mastermind of the gang Timothy Kiptanui Kitai, alias Chaparkach and several others.
Expect arrest if you disobey order
The government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna told the Star on phone that everyone is expected to obey the order.
He said that those who might be tempted to do the opposite will be arrested by the police.
Oguna, however, did not disclose the period the culprits would be under police custody considering that the Judiciary halted most of its services due to Covid-19.
“Once you break a directive or a law you will be arrested,” Oguna said.
He added that only people categorised in the list of critical and essential services will be exempted from the curfew.
Oguna added that each media house and the Media Council of Kenya should coordinate in order to issue journalists on duty with accreditation cards.
“Anybody would claim to be a journalist because under certain circumstances, somebody may not be coming from work but they may pretend that they are from work yet they are loitering around,” Oguna said.
Essential services include those that may endanger the health and safety of part or whole of the population if interrupted.
All Agencies undertaking direct and ancillary services in the water, health, security, air traffic control and civil aviation, fire services, ports, financial and transport sectors are listed as essential services.
The directive to work home is in line with the circular issued to the Public Service on March 16.
Here is a full list of organisations classified as offering essential services:
- Medical professionals and health workers
- National security, administration and co-ordination officers
- Public Health and sanitation officers in the county governments
- Licensed pharmacies and drug stores
- Licensed broadcasters and media houses
- Kenya Power
- Food dealers, distributors, wholesalers and transporters of farm produce
- Licensed supermarkets, mini-markets and hypermarkets
- Licensed distributors and retailers of petroleum and oil products and lubricants
- Licensed telecommunication operators and service providers
- Licensed banks, financial institutions and payment financial services
- Fire brigade and other emergency response services
- Licensed security firms.
The government spokesperson said that other people who do not fall under the list of essential service providers have until Friday before 7pm to abide by the order.
He said the order is meant to safeguard the lives of Kenyans from infections of the virus.