Kenya: Thousands Stranded as Kenyatta Ban Takes Effect

Residents of Nairobi walk past the Kenya National Archives National in Nairobi (file photo).

Thousands of passengers and motorists across the country were yesterday stranded after the police started implementing the measures to contain the coronavirus announced by President Kenyatta.

Kenyans affected by the ban that was issued on Monday told the Nation of their pain and suffering after they were stopped at a roadblock erected at the Daystar University junction, some three kilometres from Athi River township.

Some passengers had been stranded since Monday at 7pm.

Ms Melda Onda, 55, said she had travelled to her Kakamega rural home to visit her ailing parents.

"I had planned to travel back to my family and resume work by tomorrow (today) but I'm now stranded here. I'm running out of cash and I cannot go back to Bungoma," she said.

Mr Musa Livondo, a passenger aboard a Mombasa-bound bus, said: "I'm a casual labourer in Mombasa and my family's breadwinner. My family is looking upon me for daily bread yet I am stuck in Athi River. How will they survive?"

On the Nakuru-Naivasha highway, passengers were in the same boat.

United Methodist Church cleric Paul Matheri said he could not get home to supply water to 10,000 residents.

UNWELL

At Del Monte Depot that borders Kiambu and Murang'a counties, Ms Charity Mwaura was among the affected passengers.

"I'm exhausted after walking from Thika Town [to where the roadblock is]. As you can see, I'm unwell. I was discharged from hospital last week and had gone for check-up after feeling unwell. I don't know how I will get home," she said.

On Kangundo road, Mr Simon Irungu spent hours pleading with the officers to allow him to drive back to Joska on his return from Kijabe Hospital.

He was among dozens of travellers and residents of Joska and Kamulu stranded at the roadblock for hours before Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i relocated the roadblock to Komarock.

"We're taking these measures to protect you and ourselves. We are going to enforce the measures seriously," Dr Matiangi' said.

"Extraordinary cases will be reviewed case by case. A cancer patient in an ambulance to KNH will be allowed. We are doing this for all of us, but we have to be firm."

WESTERN REGION

Several travellers were also stranded at various bus stages after PSVs plying the Kisumu-Nairobi route ceased operations.

Lilian Adagala, who had travelled to Vihiga for a job interview, said she was scheduled to return to Nairobi immediately.

But the President's order caught her off guard and now she has no idea what to do.

"Due to financial constraints, I was expecting to spend only one night in Vihiga where I went to do a job interview. How will I survive for this entire period?" she wondered.

Another commuter, Peter Odero, says he had attended the burial of a close relative in Nyatike Sub-county in Migori and was shocked by the impromptu announcement since he was expected back at work on Wednesday.

"I took a short leave last Thursday to attend a funeral service at home. Little did I know," a shocked Mt Odero told the Nation at the Easy Coach booking offices in Migori town on Tuesday.

In Kisumu, James Otieno -- who had travelled from Nairobi on Sunday -- said he was caught off guard by the presidential directive.

"It is unfortunate that I cannot get means back to Nairobi. Staying out for the stipulated 21 days would greatly inconvenience me as I have left a young family that I must take care of," he lamented.

Reporting by Joseph Ndunda, Macharia Mwangi, Stanley Ngotho, Simon Ciuri, Lilian Mutavi, Victor Raballa and Ian Byron

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