#LockdownKenya: KOT air their covid-19 concerns to the government

A commuter wears a mask in Mombasa.

The hashtags #lockdownkenya and #Covid19Out have been trending on twitter for a while, with Kenyans expressing their growing concern to the government on the popular social networking app. Some have conveyed worry over the effectiveness of staying at home to avoid the virus, citing the overcrowding in slum areas and continued lapses by the government in protecting its citizens.

“Last Sunday, the government suspended international flights ad imposed mandatory quarantine. They were held up for hours then allowed to go home the following day. The following day, they were shuttled from place to place. Yet, the government had given assurance that a contingency plan for every scenario was in place. If the pandemic progresses to Europe level, we are sitting ducks,” wrote David Ndii.

“It is time as citizens that we thought about how to assist the poor among us with a looming decision of #lockdownkenya because our government having not made the hard decision thus far cannot be trusted to make the harder ones coming up,” wrote Caleb Mambo.

Many Kenyans on Twitter have continued to speak out for those whose livelihoods have been brought to a standstill by the deadly virus.

“People will die of hunger in their houses even before they get covid-19. Especially we who work from hand to mouth. Unless #lockdownkenya comes with being fed by the government. That way, #IWillStayAtHome peacefully and wait for the world to recover,” wrote a user identified as Rennie.

“Address the issue of people who live hand to mouth before you implement that #lockdownkenya phrase,” wrote Ken Garvey.

Those against a lockdown

Others passionately disagreed with the calls for a lockdown, saying that the majority of the population which lives in abject poverty would not survive the economic uncertainty of a lockdown.

“And then the government and the middleclass Kenyans have the guts to call for a #lockdownkenya!” wrote a user identified as Roberts, posting a photo showing the crowded housing and poor sanitation in a local slum. “Are we going to fight the virus or hunger? We need to come up with good strategies on how to do it. Remain vigilant,” he continued.

Others question whether leaders have their best interest at heart with the calls to stay at home.

“Whenever I see our MPs and Senators tweet #stayathome, I wonder what they were thinking going for recess without passing an emergency package that would allow Kenyans stay home. #lockdownkenya is a great way to manage the spread but only if public-motivated, not threats to stay in,” wrote Frank Mengi.

There are 28 confirmed cases of the deadly virus in Kenya, with the patients aged between 20 and 67. The confirmed cases are spread out in Mombasa, Nairobi, Kilifi and Kwale.