LETTER TO EDITOR

Eastleigh, Old Town lockdown not good for residents

In Summary

• The government says that the measures were not meant to punish the residents of the two suburbs but aimed at protecting Kenyans from the infection since the areas have recorded high cases of Covid-19.

• However, this measure has further exacerbated the economic situation in the two areas since the majority of city dwellers have been operating small businesses

GSU truck in Eastleigh
GSU truck in Eastleigh
Image: FREDERICK OMONDI

In a new measure to curb the global coronavirus pandemic, the government locked down Eastleigh in Nairobi and Old Town Mombasa las week.

 The government says that the measures were not meant to punish the residents of the two suburbs but aimed at protecting Kenyans from the infection since the areas have recorded high cases of Covid-19.

However, this measure has further exacerbated the economic situation in the two areas since the majority of city dwellers have been operating small businesses as a means to sustain their daily livelihoods. The directive of deploying heavy police force in the areas shows that the lockdown, which runs for 15 days, is intended to victimise and punish the population in two areas economically.

As the government grapples to tame the virus by locking down the areas, surprisingly it is abandoning the lives of its citizens who have been left homeless because of the flash floods. Grievously, more than 100 lives have so far claimed by the floods since the start of the long rains.

Since the state is run by capitalist mindset elites who prioritise economic gains over health matters, it allowed flights into the country in the early beginning of the outbreak in China. The government is now seen playing blame game on its citizens yet it allowed the virus into the country.

Primarily, testing is commendable, but for the citizens to brush off the exercise is indeed an indication they have lost their trust in their authorities who issuing empty promises has been their norm. Poor healthcare system and all the public social services have made citizens not to trust the government. There are already reports from media outlets showing people fleeing from the state quarantine centres, some of which are in an unbearable condition. We even saw some who had been detained in one of the centres attempting to commit suicide!

Shabani Mwalimu

Writer & Media Rep Hizb ut-Tahrir

Mombasa