Kenya: Is It the Right Time to Lock Down Kibra? What Nairobians Think

Despite the rapidly rising numbers of people who have lately tested positive to Covid-19 in Nairobi's Kibra slums, the Government appears not ready to lock down the sprawling slum.

While Eastleigh estate and Mombasa's Old Town were sealed off with 58 and 67 positive cases respectively, such drastic measures are yet to be imposed on Kibra which has already recorded more than 150 cases so far.

BUSINESS AS USUAL

Yet, even with such high figures, its business as usual in Kibra.

On Saturday, CAS in the Ministry of Health, Rashid Aman, said that if the numbers in Kibra go on increasing then necessary action will be taken.

"We have seen increasing concern about Kibra as the testing goes on and if the numbers go on increasing then necessary interventions will be taken," he said.

Then on Sunday he addressed the same issue, saying slums remain an area of concern for the government in its fight against Covid-19.

"We are actively following up on these cases (in Kibra). We are trying to trace all the people who have been in contact with the positive cases," he said.

While some in Nairobi have urged the government to lock down Kibra, residents of the slum hold a different view.

MAJOR CRISIS

Residents of Kibra who spoke to Nairobi News expressed fear that implementation of such measures would lead to a major crisis.

Mr Gabriel Ombaba, who lives in Katwekera within Kibra, said that lock down would mean people starving in their houses, unless the government provides food.

"Most residents of Kibra live from hand to mouth and locking down the area would mean people will have to be given meals. Is the Government ready to do so?" he posed.

He is also of the view that the government should look for better ways of dealing with the situation instead of imposing lock downs.

Another area resident, James Otieno, says locking down Kibra would only attract a revolt since most people who live in the slum work within the city centre and Industrial area.

TIME IS RIGHT

"It is very tricky. They should be wise when imposing such measures on people who live in the slum," he said.

But some Nairobians, who live outside Kibra, feel that there is need of locking down the slum.

Aisha Halima, who lives in Nairobi West, said that Kibra had recorded worrying numbers and time is right for the government to intervene.

"The Government should intervene and save the slum dwellers. That is the only way we can all be safe," she said.

Ms Mary Mageto, a resident of Kahawa area, said that she would be very grateful if the government locks down Kibra.

"The only way to save the people is by locking down Kibra. However, in such an eventuality, the government would have to feed the slum dwellers," she said.

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