COVID-19 Episode 4
BY PROF DR HALIMU SHAURI
Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Pwani University & Consultant Sociologist
As numbers go berserk globally and hitting the roof in the African continent, the impact of the corona virus is also beginning to bite in every corner of Kenya forcing everybody to either style up or be styled.
The President has blown the whistle and there is no turning back as he began with shutting down learning institutions, then went for offices and now curfew pap!
When the curfew whistle was blown out, this writer immediately felt that government has started to think seriously.
Honestly, we were given freedom to maintain personal hygiene, keep social distance and self-quarantine but we misbehaved.
This freedom is now taken away and we are to be controlled by the police. Probably this is the language we will understand that COVID-19 is taking up our fundamental freedoms.
Internal cabinet secretary Dr Fred Matiangi, the man, has already gazetted the curfew and it is no longer a question of lockdown, we are starting a shutdown, albeit at night, 7:00 pm – 5:00 am beginning today, Friday 27th March 2020.
I have heard many people making noise about the curfew, but where was this noise when we were behaving badly! When you behave badly you forget that others can even exhibit worse behavior!
In my community we say, if one soils the ugali, you spill the stew. This is exactly what the president has done through the National Security Council.
Health CS Kagwe said: “If we behave normally, corona will behave abnormally”.
The President has decided by showing us that we can be shown abnormal behaviors, placing the ferry services under the coast guards, curfew and many more will come till we behave abnormally by complying with COVID-19 mitigation guidelines, contrary to the current lackluster innuendos.
A curfew is a very serious thing in this country. It has partially happened in some sections of the country before like in Lamu County and others. In these areas we have had the complaints.
Now the whole country will have to suffer a curfew for the first time because of a few irresponsible people. The sooner we realize corona si mchezo wa kibe the better.
If we don’t tore the line more measures will come. A friend of mine normally says in our circles, usipojipanga, utapangwa. President Uhuru Kenyatta ameanza kutupanga.
I am imagining the worst like the shutdown in Italy and India. Please let’s change our ways so that we don’t deteriorate to this level.
As a country we cannot afford a shutdown. Our economy, poverty levels, state of our health facilities and system, all points to the red.
Let’s see the sense and just comply with the guidelines. The situation will not improve if we don’t improve.
Corona virus is testing our own purpose of human existence. It’s time we commit to the fight and help the nation win the epidemic.
If we continue behaving the way we do, I will not be surprised for example when the government suspends everything for the sake of saving us. Sometimes, the greater good of saving humanity can necessitate abnormal measures.
Killing the whole nation through uncontrolled corona infections and suspending ferry services for 2-3 weeks for example, which is greater evil? If we don’t want this to happen then let’s be civil and comply with the measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
History is being made in the country by having the first medical curfew since independence.
The fact that this has never happened for over a half a century since independence is testament enough that the virus has put us in a catch 22 situation.
This is a-do-or-die time! If we don’t act, however ugly, like having curfews or lockdowns or shutdowns whatever is appropriate; then we cease to see tomorrow as a nation.
However, as the curfew commences, I hope the police will give it a human face because this is not a war related curfew.
Others have tried to be innovative during such times as revealed in the shared video…Rights belong to the videographer.