The dynamics of a curfew during peace time

Written By: Christine Muchira
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Former CPS chairman Joseph Kaguthi (File)

The nationwide curfew that kicks off Friday is like no other in Kenya history according to former provincial administrator and Nyumba Kumi initiative Chair Joseph Kaguthi.

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Other curfews that Kenya has witnessed since pre-independence days have been for security purposes and enforced by the military.

However the current curfew is for the good of the society to fight a health challenge and will be enforced by the National Police Service.

Curfew

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Curfew is a regulation requiring people to remain indoors between specified hours, typically at night. “a dusk-to-dawn curfew”

The veteran administrator noted that curfews in Kenya are an old way of management.

“Curfew is an old management system of maintaining security and order,” Kaguthi explained adding that “it restricts movements so as to contain the enemy.”

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The most memorable curfew in Kenya was imposed in 1982 in Nairobi, Nanyuki and few other major towns after the abortive coup by Kenya Airforce.

Recently Kenyans saw another curfew imposed in Lamu County and parts of Northeastern that lasted almost a year to fight Al shabaab.

In this particular curfew announced by President Kenyatta as he spelt out a raft of measures the government has put in place to contain the spread of the deadly virus, the citizens are the victims and those who violate the curfew are the enemy.

He said this is a citizen based curfew in that the citizen can become the offender and can also be the offended.

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The government is restricting movement of people to reduce the risk of contact to avoid the spread of Coronavirus.

Kaguthi added that the police and administration police will enforce the curfew as opposed to the military.

Kenyans culturally are very social people who like to dine together and meet up for drinks and other activities and with the curfew in place it will greatly affect that part of our culture.

Kaguthi, however, explained it was for the best and lauded the government for the move noting that in areas where governments delayed taking action the virus has spread widely.

He called on the vernacular media stations, clergy, local administrators to increase sensitisation of the disease at the grassroot level.

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“We require more education because the danger is in the mass movement,” said Kaguthi.

The clergy, security personnel, medics have been urged to protect themselves even as they render their services during this time.

Incase of any emergency the public has been advised to use #719 to report any situations or seek help.

Kaguthi warned Kenyans against defying the curfew.

“Do not play with emergency situations. Do not test the system since the law will take its cause,” warned Kaguthi.

The freedom of Kenyans will be curtailed because of an extraordinary situation but know it is in the best interest of citizens.

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