IG, Interior ministry key in curbing Covid-19 pandemic

In Summary

•The police database on curfew arrests is shallow

IG Hillary Mutyambai
IG Hillary Mutyambai
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

It is a collective responsibility and more saw self discipline that is required to aid in curbing the COVID- 19 pandemic. The Government directives are quite clear on what each citizenry is supposed to observe and adhere too as we all work towards combating the spread of the deadly virus.One the of key measures has been 7pm- 5am curfew. It is my belief the government had valid reasons prior to imposing the half- lock down directives.

The enforcers of the curfew are non other than the government uniformed security personnel. Their mandate is clear and above All they are supposed to enforce the curfew with civility and order.This has not been the case, brutality and excess use of force towards citizens is the order of the day and deaths too are being reported, caused by those entrusted to protect life and property.My concern and attention is drawn to what's happening to our police cells at this period of the curfew.

Yesterday I got arrested and was booked at Satellite police station in Riruta, Dagorretti South Sub- County .The offence booked was disobeying the curfew order as directed by His.Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta. On arrest the police officer demanded for Kshs 5000 to secure my freedom, which I did not oblige too.

At the police cell we were about 17 people in the tiny, unhygienic and poorly ventilated room all heaped together. We spent the night there and got released today at 8am upon payment of unreceipted/unrecorded cash bail of Kshs 3000 as demanded by the police officers at the station. My greatest worry is; Are the police officers helping in curbing the spread of Corana virus or the opposite? I learnt from those I got in the cells and to my surprise those that have stayed there between 2 - 4 wks, that since the curfew started, the cell hosts not less than 17 people per night.If this is the scenario on the ground, how factual are we in our efforts to fight this pandemic?

No sanitization, no social distancing, no isolation, no tests either pre or post and above all no contact tracing details should one get tested and turn out to be positive. The OB only captures your name? No mobile number nor point of stay.We left the cells upon payment of the cash bail, with no total bother from the officers on matters related to COVID- 19. Simple computations- with a minimum of 17 arrests per day? How many contacts are bound to occur per day? Who cares to follow the situation? If one or two test positive for the virus, how will the contact tracing be done?

The police database on curfew arrests is shallow, only capturing name.This is a time bomb and unless the government relooks into this whole scenario then the numbers of those infected could be alarming on the basis of the situation at Satellite Police Station.We urge the IG to personally intervene on this matter not only in Dagorretti south but in the country as a whole as far as government security agencies is concerned.Disciplinary actions and immediate reshuffle of the station police officers is the antidote to the situation.

Dennis Wendo CEO/Founder- Integrated Development Network ( IDN- KENYA)[email protected]