As law enforcement agents unleashed terror on Kenyans in Mombasa, Kisumu and Garissa counties, police officers in Baringo chose a different approach to effect the 7pm-5am curfew that was implemented on Friday, March 27.
Ugly scenes of residents being hit using batons, kicked, slapped, punched and rudely referred to, did not play out in Kabarnet, Baringo County as the police officers opted to raise awareness on the importance of observing the curfew directive, and also hand hygiene.
As late as 7:30pm, Kabarnet Town residents, who were still walking on the streets, were not beaten up, but told — in a rather humane tone — to rush home, and ensure a repeat of the same (lateness) doesn’t replay.
The cops even offered to sanitise the hands of some of the residents who were going home past 7pm.
Baringo Central Sub-County Administration Police Commander, Ibrahim Abachila, was spotted addressing some motorists who had failed to beat the cut-off hour.
“It was wrong of you to fail to observe the curfew. However, moving forward, ensure that you plan your journeys accordingly so that 7pm finds you’ve already arrived at your destinations,” Abachila told the tens of motorists before allowing them to drive home.
As late as 6:50pm, some shops in Kabarnet Town were yet to close. Cops deployed to the centre, however, implored upon the store owners to close and leave for home. The law enforcement officers, however, asked them (business owners) never to repeat the same.
Generally, apart from the few residents who were still up and down in Kabarnet past 7pm, a majority of the inhabitants had already left for home, with major streets deserted.
Boda boda operators in Kabarnet Town, who had attempted to defy the 7pm-5am curfew, engaged police in running battles for nearly half an hour before surrendering, and leaving for home.
Majorly, the peaceful exercise in Baringo was in stark contrast of what happened in Mombasa at around 5pm, when Likoni ferry users were clobbered by a contingent of law enforcement officers comprising regular police, anti-riot police, NYS recruits, among others.
Defending the police officers’ actions, Police Spokesperson Charles Owino told K24 Television Friday evening: “Ferry users in Mombasa defied social distancing guidelines and stoned police officers; this, prompted law enforcers to apply force. However, the officers’ actions are regrettable.”
In Kisumu, chaos erupted in Kondele area Friday night after constituents defied the 7pm curfew ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta last Wednesday.
As at 7:10pm, most businesses in Kondele were operating, with the proprietors saying they wouldn’t go home until they spot police officers. The businesses that were still open include: electronic shops, eateries, general goods stores, boda bodas, among others.
Twenty minutes past 7pm, a contingent of police officers, comprising regular and anti-riot officers, went down to Kondele to effect the curfew.
The law enforcement officers were forced to hurl teargas at the constituents, who wanted to continue engaging in trade despite a stay-at-home order being active.
The affected traders ran in different directions, including towards Manyatta and Obunga areas.
Kisumu County Commissioner Susan Waweru told K24 Digital that they won’t relent in their quest to have the curfew order obeyed.
On Wednesday, March 25, President Kenyatta announced a 7pm to 5am curfew beginning Friday, March 27. The Head of State said the curfew was imposed to minimise Kenyans’ interaction in the wake of the spread of COVID-19.
Kenya has thus far registered 31 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with one out of the 31 succumbing to the virus, and another one recovering.