Curfew: DP Ruto speaks on police conduct amid brutality outcry

By Brian Okoth On Sat, 28 Mar, 2020 13:26 | 3 mins read
Ruto said the need to let Uhuru take charge of the government’s anti-coronavirus agenda prompted his absence during the president's addresses. [PHOTO | FILE]
Deputy President William Ruto. [PHOTO | FILE]
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    DP Ruto has urged police officers to “act firmly, but with restraint” as the law enforcement agents enforce a curfew directive issued by President Kenyatta.

Deputy President William Ruto has urged police officers to “act firmly, but with restraint” as the law enforcement agents enforce a curfew directive issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta last Wednesday.

Taking to his Twitter page on Saturday, March 28, Ruto said the purpose of the 7pm-5am curfew is to ensure new coronavirus infections are minimised, and, therefore, all Kenyans must obey the president’s order.

“Fellow citizens, the corona[virus] pandemic is serious, very serious. The GoK curfew (partial lockdown) is meant to curtail movement so as to reduce spread of [the] virus. Us all, must comply with the terms of curfew without exception. Law enforcers must act firmly but with restraint and civility,” said the deputy president.

Ruto’s remarks came hours after Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria put the blame on Kenyans for the rough-up they were subjected to on Friday night as the 7pm-5am curfew came into effect.

“The reason COVID-19 is getting under control in China and running out of control in Italy is very simple. In China, hawacheki na mtu. You obey laid down COVID-19 guidelines to the latter, or face the music. In Italy, the liberal far right and reactionary media place civil liberties over safety,” said Moses Kuria on Facebook.

“Please, dear fellow countrymen and women, let us obey the government directives on coronavirus. Failure to do so, is you taking poison and expecting the government to die of the poison. I urge the police to use all means to keep Kenyans safe and save us from our self-destructive tendencies. We are too poor to afford this crazy virus,” added the lawmaker.

The two leaders’ remarks come after Kenyans took to social media to complain over terror unleashed on residents of Mombasa, Kisumu and Garissa counties by police.

Ugly scenes of Kenyans being hit using batons, kicked, slapped, punched and rudely referred to, became commonplace on Friday night.

In Mombasa, at around 5pm Friday, 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.

And while addressing the press last Sunday (March 22), Interior PS Karanja Kibicho said the ministry will commit all its resources in ensuring that Government directives to help combat the spread of COVID-19 are adhered to. The PS said there will be “no mercy” in enforcing the directives.

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