• Citizens use panya routes to avoid police roadblocks between Mombasa and Nairobi. The trip costs around Sh4,000.
• Government will announce this weekend whether the Nairobi lockdown will be extended through July
For over two months, Nairobi and Mombasa have been locked down with travellers not allowed to go in or out.
However this is just in theory. In reality, affluent people secured police permits to travel out of Nairobi on 'essential' services.
And, increasingly, ordinary people have resorted to panya routes to avoid police roadblocks. It costs Sh1,000 on a boda boda to bypass the Athi River roadblock and go to Machakos Junction, according to the Star reporter who made the journey. And it will cost another Sh3,000 to go all the way to Mombasa.
The same panya routes operate around Thika and Limuru for travellers moving north and west.
Ironically, these travellers are probably not the law-abiding citizens who wear masks and practice social distancing. They are the reckless citizens more likely to spread Covid-19.
The lockdowns in Nairobi and Mombasa are inconvenient but served to slow down the spread of the virus. But government now needs to decide whether the city lockdowns still serve a useful purpose.
If the city lockdowns are extended throughout July, then the police should place new roadblocks to eliminate these panya routes.
Quote of the day: "Sham liberty will be proclaimed everywhere."
The French astrologer died on July 2, 1566