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Kenyans express mixed feelings on curfew announcement

Kenyans have expressed mixed feelings on the directive of President Uhuru Kenyatta to impose a curfew from 7 PM to 5 AM.

The curfew will be effective on 27th March 2020. Only sectors deemed essential, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, media broadcasters among others will operate during the restricted hours.

80 Per cent pay cut for Presidency

In the announcement, the President also announced an 80 per cent pay cut for him and the Deputy President. This move was in a bid to allocate more money to efforts to combat the COVID-19. Other government employees would also 20 per cent pay cuts.

Many questioned the effectiveness of the curfew. Considering that most human interactions happen during the day, the night curfew would then not be any more useful since people do not move much at night anyway.

Kenya has so far confirmed 28 cases of the COVID-19 disease. Amidst all this gloom, though, was the news that patient zero, the first person who was confirmed to have the illness in the country, had made a full recovery.

Mixed reactions from Kenyans

However, the curfew imposed has led to a myriad of mixed reactions from Kenyans. With a majority of the city residents already in quarantine, the limit was an escalation that seems to be leaning towards an inevitable reality – a lockdown.

But a lockdown would most likely hurt many Kenyans differently. With many Kenyans not on a fixed payroll, a lockdown would then mean that these Kenyans, who are the majority, would likely suffer.

Many Kenyans were hopeful that Uhuru Kenyatta would address this issue in the statement. Instead, the President addressed tax reliefs alongside the curfew. The tax reliefs would only be a relief for those who are gainfully employed. Thus, those who depend on daily wages will unlikely to feel the effect.

David Ndii’s open letter to the President

It was this situation that led to the economist, David Ndii, to ask the President to issue soft loans to companies. This was among many sensible things that Ndii proposed in the letter. These companies would then use to keep their laid-off employees afloat in the event of total lockdown.

Already, South Africa has gone on lockdown.  Nigeria is preparing for that eventuality. Rwanda is also on lockdown.

Nonetheless, many Kenyans remain on edge as to how the government will act in the coming days.



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