As President Uhuru Kenyatta was delivering his national address at State House Nairobi yesterday afternoon, a bus belonging to Kenyatta University was motoring towards Bomet.
The 16 passengers, staff from the main campus in Nairobi, were headed for a funeral. Leornard Bii, their colleague at Ruiru Campus, had passed on last week. The 233-km drive was worth it for a departed colleague who was eulogised as cheerful and humble.
“There shall be cessation of all movement by road, rail, or air into and out of the disease infected area as one
zoned area comprising of the Counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru, effective midnight tonight- meaning, Saturday 27th March, 2021, until otherwise notified,” said President Kenyatta.
It was the end of the road for the K.U group. The driver took an about turn and pointed the bus towards Nairobi. “By the time we arrived in Nakuru, it was past curfew hours,” said one of the people in the entourage. “We slept inside the bus and early morning, set off for Nairobi.”
This experience is a microcosm of what Kenyans experienced -and continue to- in the light of the new lockdown measures announced by the President. Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen narrated how they threw a spanner in the works of a friend’s wedding plans.
“My friend and neighbor in Embobut is getting married in Kajiado tomorrow (now today). We organized for her Mum and a few relatives to come for the wedding. I sent my driver to pick them from Eldoret this morning. Upon reaching Kinungi, they received the lockdown news. We had to make a practical decision for the Mum to proceed to Kajiado for the wedding while the rest of the team boarded a 2NK Matatu at Kinungi flyover back to Eldoret. The Mum will be part of the 15 persons allowed via the regulations to attend the wedding after which we don’t know when she will be able to go back home,” he wrote on Facebook. “Now how many Kenyans especially students are going through the same dilemma?”
Another social media user Fred Gori wrote that his friend who was headed for Kisii for the weekend was forced to turn back at Narok town.
While Kenyans are sharing on social media the “panya routes” they can use to get in an out of the zoned counties, police have warned of stern action against those caught using these routes.
“While I fully support the new measures, the implementation should consider the various dynamics affecting Kenyans,” said Senator Murkomen.
The transport crisis persists this morning, a spot check by TV47 Digital shows. Matatus plying the Nairobi-Nakuru route have hiked fares, with one terminus demanding Ksh2,000 per passenger. It is not clear whether the government will relax the measures to allow university students to travel home.