Dusk-to-dawn curfew, travel ban to affect Ramadhan fast

Monday, April 27th, 2020 00:00 |
It was business as usual at Kondele Estate in Kisumu a few minutes past 7pm on Monday even after the government imposed a dusk to dawn curfew to curb the spread of coronavirus. Police used teargas to disperse them. Photo/PD/VIOLA KOSOME

The extension of dusk-to-dawn curfew and the cessation of movement in and out of Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties will no doubt affect Muslim faithful who just began fasting during this holy Month of Ramadhan.

The coastal counties inter-relate in many ways and the extension of the directives means their interactions are restricted.

Muslim faithful countrywide began their fast on Saturday  in accordance with sighting of the moon announcement by Chief Kadhi Ahmed Muhdhar. The situation has been worsened by closure of mosques.

According to Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) secretary Shaikh Mohamed Khalifa, the directive is affecting them, especially after the government declined to push the curfew time to 10pm to allow them conduct prayers after breaking the fast.

“It’s unfortunate but we have no option. The move is good for all because it is in the interest of the country to help  control Covid-19 spread. 

“This means we cannot travel outside the county nor go for night prayers for another 21 days,” said Khalifa in a phone interview with People Daily.

The extension of travel restrictions has triggered a sharp decline on supply of goods and services in Mombasa and its environs, with players fearing that shortage of commodities may see ballooning of  prices.

Despite immense contribution to country’s economy, the small medium enterprises sector at the coastal region has continued to face challenges that threaten its existence.

At the Coast for example, some companies have closed shop especially in the tourism sector while with the transport sector restrictions,  agricultural products supply has been affected, leading to a surge in commodity prices.

 Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) expert Rukia Rashid said if the situation continues, Coast region is likely to begin feeling immense heat of limited supply of products in small shops.

Currently according to the official, who also doubles as the technical advisor to the National President, KNCCI, normal supply has not been affected owing to stocks they had in anticipation of any eventuality.

“Agribusiness is the most affected hence there is limited supply but we are likely to see impact on other products in a week or two if the situation continues like this. 

“Remember the region depends mostly on supplies from other parts of the country which is not happening due to the curfew,” said Rashid.

Small economies

The official faulted Governor Hassan Joho for continuously calling for a total lockdown saying the governor had done nothing to sustain the small economies which are reeling from the shocks of Covid-19.

“We don’t support total lockdown as Joho says. Let him call us business people and discuss with us instead of pushing for what he wants without proper mechanisms to feed the vulnerable,” said Rashid.

In Kongowea market, traders selling their ware outside the market have run short of food commodities such as vegetables as supply has been cut short by the night curfew. 

Most drivers have halt night travels  for fear of police brutality.

“People now cannot afford vegetables and cereals, because the supply is declining and the prices are going up every day,” Rashid added.

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