Confusion, anxiety grip Coast hours before movement stoppage

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 00:00 |
Upcountry passengers stranded at Mwembe Tayari bus stop, in Mombasa, following a government ban stopping movement to Nairobi. Photo/PD/BONFACE MSANGI

The Presidential directive on stoppage of movement in and out of Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties as part of measures to contain Covid-19 has plunged residents into confusion.

Some residents were concerned that the directive was inconveniencing them especially those who live on the boundaries of the affected counties and asked the government to re-consider its decision because most commute across counties.

The confusion was also compounded by the differences between Interior PS Karanja Kibicho and government spokesman Cyrus Oguna who appeared to differ on operations at the ferry during a national TV interview hours after the president’s announcement on Monday.

During the interview Kibicho, said ferries will not move people from Kwale side to Mombasa as from Wednesday a statement that differed with Oguna’s who said the operations of the ferry will still continue.

However, Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata yesterday clarified  the issue saying categorically that inter county movement in the three affected counties will not be allowed once the directive kicks off on Wednesday (today).

“The order simply means that if you happen to be in the affected counties you are allowed to do your daily duties within your respective county provided you observe the curfew hours but don’t transcend the borders of any of those three counties,” said Elungata and clarified that ferry users will still be allowed to cross between the mainland and the island sides.

Essential services

According to the regional chief, Mombasa County extends across the Likoni Ferry Channel to the mainland side of Likoni and all the way to Shika Adabu area which is the border between Mombasa and Kwale.

“There shall be no movement in and out of those counties, main reason being we intend to stop further spread of the virus.

It has been well documented that coronavirus is being spread by movement of humans and these three counties Kwale, Mombasa and Kilifi have been singled out as the epicenters of the disease,” said Elungata .  

“We have erected several road blocks at designated points to manage the operation and ensure that those in critical and essential services move in a coordinated manner,” he added.

In Mtwapa, residents are in dilemma as they find Mombasa City closer to Kilifi main town which is almost 60km away. 

“I live in Mtwapa and ever morning I have to commute to Mombasa to buy vegetables at the Kongowea market.

Now the directive has inconvenienced us,” said Mariam Abdalla, who runs  a vegetable kiosk at Mtomondoni in Mtwapa.

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