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.
#EnforceTheBan On #CurfewinKenya most innocent kenyans are going to suffer. Police officers can even arrest you inside your house and claim you were outside loitering in the streets then demand a bribe. If you declined to do as per their demands…..Stay safe,we shall overcome. pic.twitter.com/MpNElTORjg
— Faith KE🇰🇪 (@Faithmwenih) March 26, 2020
Kenyans we shall overcome I FULLY Support President Uhuru Kenyatta Directive for both economy and health parliament should move faster.The curfew will help eliminate this virus and after this,our Economy should pick up well.we are well Kenya let us be discipline #CurfewinKenya
— Kibet Benard (@KibetBenard_) March 26, 2020
So according to President Uhuru Kenyatta, coronavirus only spreads at night. Who bewitched Kenyans?#CurfewInKenya
— Victor Mochere (@VictorMochere) March 26, 2020
Lets think deep on this directive on #CurfewinKenya. how sensible is it? 95% kenyans work and interact btn 7am to 6pm. this is where the problem is and unless this issue is fully addressed,we are still beating around the bush .Lets face the facts. we need a #LockDownKenya
— Tonny ™ 🇰🇪 (@TonnyLegal) March 26, 2020
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.