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Police set up roadblocks isolating the Nairobi Metropolitan Area. Photo: Courtesy

OPINION: Why President Kenyatta should not lock down the Country despite rising Covid-19 cases.

By Wanjiku Wanjiru

The coming week is going to be a very tough week for us as a nation. Given that the Covid-19 cases have been on the rise with passing day, the president’s big headache now is whether to lock down the county again or let Kenyans carry on with their lives.

Early this week the Amref Health Africa CEO Dr. Githinji Gitahi said locking down the country will be of no great gain since the country in now at the local/community transmissions phase. This means the virus is here with us in our villages and at every point in our nation. A lock-down would therefore not serve the intended purpose since there are no transmissions that are coming from outside our communities.

I support his line of thought.

We all need to acknowledge the needs and actual status of our communities and maybe work towards supporting them to survive through this pandemic. The best way maybe to cushion them would be through a lock-down. We had a partial lockdown for a period of 3 months and its effects and those of the curfew are still being felt a month after its lifting.

Another lockdown whether partial or full would strain the low income earners beyond their imagination these are people who live from hand to mouth, they therefore need to work to earn a daily wage and make a living. The much that has been done for them in the period of that lock-down was provision of food rations that would not last them more than 2 weeks. For the other bit of the lock-down they were struggling to have a daily meal. The most disheartening bit about all this is that even the criteria used to dish out this food rations was compromised and sometimes you would notice some very needy cases who were not listed as needy yet some well-off people were receiving the rations.

The short and long of it, is that another lock-down at this point would be so disruptive. Some counties have worked out plans to have economic stimulus plan to assist their people jump start their business. An example is the Laikipia County government that has entered into an agreement with a number of banks to provide business people and SMEs within the county with affordable loans.

In case of a lock-down this are businesses that will be left struggling with huge debts with business having been disrupted by the lock-down.

The bottom line of all this is that the war against Covid-19 and the victory therein lies in our own ability as citizens to be responsible and to adhere to the government and MOH containment guidelines.

The use of a face mask is now becoming mandatory. Leaders who previously did not see the importance of donning one are now at the forefront advocating for the wearing of masks. Take the US President Donald Trump for example he is nowadays donning a face mask, my friend who are you not to wear one. Washing our hands or sanitizing should now be a part of our life, avoiding gatherings and staying at home. These are sure way to keep the virus at bay.

Remember this virus has no legs or eyes of its own, meaning it can’t move unless you carry it from one place to another and Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has been categorical on that fact. It is us Kenyans who are aiding the spread of Covid-19 when we fail to follow the containment guidelines.

If it’s not necessary please avoid those movements. If you must move, then follow the stipulated guidelines. Other Nations that were worst hit by the virus are slowly regaining control, but unfortunately so many lives have been lost.

We don’t have to follow their route; we can learn from them and avert the adverse effects of this pandemic.


Wanjiku Wanjiru is a journalist and a communication specialist based in Laikipia County and comments on various political and social issues affecting the country.