The blatant disregard of the dusk to dawn curfew by Kenyans informed the decision by police to blockade major highways in Nairobi on Saturday night, police have said.
Acknowledging that the operation may have inconvenienced many, especially essential service providers, Nairobi Regional Commissioner James Kianda on Sunday said it was necessary.
“The operation was necessitated by Kenyans who have been defying curfew hours repeatedly.
“Yesterday’s (Saturday’s) traffic snarl-up along Thika Road was occasioned by efforts of our police officers to strictly enforce the curfew restrictions, and we acknowledge the inconvenience this may have caused the road users,” he said.
The regional commissioner said should the violation of the COVID-19 containment measures continues, Kenyans should expect more of such drastic measures.
“Following our routine review and assessment of implementation of the Covid-19 containment measures, we have established that compliance with the said guidelines within the Nairobi metropolitan area is below 50 percent,” said Mr Kianda.
“We also note with concern that there is willful violation of these protocols in estates, especially prohibition of large in-person gatherings and compliance with curfew restrictions and other health protocols,” he added.
“Nairobians should expect more going forward. It was not possible to arrest people because of numbers but several revelers were arrested and they will appear in court,” said the police commissioner.
Kianda added that it was the responsibility of all Kenyans to help the government flatten the Covid-19 curve before re-opening the country.
“We wish to remind Kenyans that each life matters, and we must all take part in breaking the chain of transmission of the virus.
“However stringent these rules may appear, they are imperative for our survival. As such, civic responsibility is a more potent weapon in this war than enforcement of the guidelines by the police,” he said.
He said the police would not tire in enforcing the law and that they will put an elaborate plan in place to ensure a smooth transition in the curfew period.
“Going forward, our traffic management will be reviewed and enhanced to facilitate smooth transition into curfew hours. If we all step up voluntary compliance with these measures, then we have a chance to reach the globally recommended five percent positivity rate, and the total reopening of our economy and country shall come sooner than we projected,” he said.