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Closure of border hits traders hard : The Standard

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Residents of Budalang’i in Busia County have started feeling the effects of a  government order to close the border to human traffic.

Locals said they depend heavily on food brought in from Uganda, thus the travel restrictions could result in some families sleeping hungry.
“If the government is ready to distribute relief food, that will be good for us in Budalang’i,” said Rael Akumu, a cereals trader who was unable to replenish her stock with grains from across the neighbouring country.
Following the order to close the border to human traffic from Port Victoria in Budalang’i to Malaba, only heavy commercial vehicles are being allowed across. On Tuesday, police chased away traders who operate in Kenya’s Sofia area, which borders the country’s no-man’s land with Uganda.
Jane Atieno said she has been crossing the border for the last seven years to buy fruits, onions, tomatoes and vegetables in Sofia, Uganda.
“Our bread basket is Uganda. We source foodstuff from there and since the closure of the border, it has been hard for us to cross,” she said.
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industries Busia vice chairman Sylvanus Abungu warned that the directive will have far-reaching negative economic effects.
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Mr Abungu said Kenya imports millet, maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, fish, milk, eggs and sugar from Uganda.
Other commodities include sugarcane, charcoal, timber and cereals, which are later transported across the country.
“Informal cross-border trade is the worst hit. Busia is the gateway to markets outside the region and it is already affected. If the government orders a total lockdown, it will be worse,” he said.
James Ndirangu said he was stuck with charcoal worth Sh2 million after security officers refused to allow him to transport the fuel into Kenya on Monday. He complained that the decision to close the border had caught him unawares.
Mary Achieng’ told The Standard she had been selling fish sourced from Uganda at Soko Matope for the last 15 years. When we visited her stall, she did not have any fish for sale.
“As much as I support the government for closing the border to prevent spread of the virus, the closure has affected me immensely,” said Achieng’

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Govt makes u-turn on mitumba clothes – Nairobi News

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Industrialisation CS Betty Maina has now denied claims that the government has suspended the importation of second-hand clothes popularly known as mitumba.

Ms Maina said that the government has not suspended the importation of mitumba, but it will be much more difficult for businessmen to import second-hand clothes into the country.

This, she said, is because of the caution that is being exercised by the government due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“If you think just about the number of clothes that you are wearing that are imported, it’s astronomical and yet this is something that Kenya used to be able to produce. So there is opportunity to localise our apparel market, in our apparel supply both for us in Kenya and also for the region,” she said.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe is leading Kenya’s response to the pandemic.

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives on Wednesday had tweeted that it has suspended the importation of mitumba in a move aimed at safeguarding the health of Kenyans.

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The World Health Organisation says coronavirus is transmitted through respiratory droplets (from an infected person sneezing or coughing).

It adds that the virus may remain alive for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials, including clothing.

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Curfew: Leaders fault police for using excessive force – KBC

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Political leaders in the country have faulted the manner in which the National Police Service implemented the dusk to dawn curfew on Friday.

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Amani National Congress Party leader Musalia Mudavadi faulted police officers for allegedly employing excessive force in the enforcement of the dusk to dawn curfew that kicked off Friday.

Mudavadi says the police action could prove counterproductive in ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic as it might place police at war with the citizens.

“The police have gone about it in the manner that is extremely inconsiderate and inhumane. They give an impression that they are dealing with a hostile population that must be cowed in through brutal force. It is useful to remind the Government that it is not at war with its citizens,” said ANC leader Mudavadi.

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Mudavadi called on the Government to re-evaluate and look into mechanisms of ensuring Kenyans have access to basic commodities such as food.

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Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula asked the Inspector General of Police to ensure no human right abuses occur when enforcing the curfew.

“IG Mutyambai ensure there are no human rights abuses in the pretext of enforcing the curfew. Kenyans are already traumatized by Coronavirus and need no further stress. Police should escort those caught off guard to their homes and not beat them up,” said Wetangula.

“When the President declared a 7 pm to 5 am curfew it was meant to enhance efforts to check Covid-19. The police who are using this as an excuse to brutalize people are criminally culpable,” he added.

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Stop beating Kenyans during curfew, leaders tell police : The Standard

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Leaders across the political divide have condemned the brutality meted out on Kenyans by police officers who were enforcing a government’s curfew to curb the spread of the coronavirus diseases.
Led by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, the leaders said the action of the police as was witnessed on Friday evening defeated the very purpose of the curfew. 
The Elegeyo Marakwet senator said the police action, endangered the lives of many Kenyans, saying lumping people together could have led to more infections if one of them was suffering from coronavirus.
SEE ALSO :China virus cases spike, 17 new infections reported“Before we even discuss the violence, if any of them was positive, he or she must have infected so many. This is primitive,” he said, adding that if one or two of the Kenyans in this crowd were positive,  then the multiplying effect will be catastrophic.
He told Interior CS Fred Matiang’i to borrow a leaf from his Health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe by providing leadership and instilling order and discipline among the officers during the curfew.
“CS Kagwe has demonstrated great leadership during the coronavirus outbreak with timely updates to Kenyans, those charge of our security must take the queue and enforce the curfew with a human face while respecting the rule law, he said adding that the action of the police as was witnessed in Likoni and other parts of our country is counterproductive.
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He said the curfew was declared by President Uhuru Kenyatta to curb the spread of the coronavirus and not to torture Kenyans.
Murkomen said the officers must stop acting like they harbour grudges against Kenyans and the curfew has provided them with an opportunity to revenge.
SEE ALSO :China confirms virus spreading between humans“The curfew is meant to curb the spread of coronavirus not to torture Kenyans. The security managers are behaving as though they have a grudge against Kenyans and are curfew as an excuse for revenge. It must stop forthwith,” said Murkomen.
Siaya Senator and Senate Minority Leader James Orengo told off the police for violating the rights of Kenyans in the name of enforcing a curfew, adding that the curfew has not suspended the law.
“A state of emergency does not by itself ineluctably limit or suspend the Bill of Rights. There must be legislation. In any case, national security must be pursued in compliance with the rule of law and human rights. Police must not enforce the curfew with might but love and fight Covid-19,” Orengo tweeted
ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi told the police to spare Kenyans the beating saying majority of citizens are already economically distressed and that any brutality will break their hearts.
Mudavadi said what Kenyans want in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic is love and civility and not the brutality witnessed on Friday.
SEE ALSO :Factbox: What we know about the new coronavirus spreading in China and beyond “Kenyans are already economically distressed and now terrified of covid-19. They need help and guidance. Enforcement of the curfew does not mean terror and brutality to the mwanainchi. Treat the citizenry with civility,” said Mudavadi
Nandi Governor Stephen Sang condemned the brutality and told the law enforcers not to confuse Kenyans with the coronavirus.
“Police brutality witnessed this evening across the country is unacceptable. Police must not appear to confuse wanainchi for coronavirus. Even as we urge Kenyans to adhere to the directives and guidelines issued by the government, rule of law and common sense must prevail at all times,” said Governor Sang.
Cases of police brutality have been witnessed in certain parts of the country as the nationwide curfew took effect on Friday evening.
Police spokesman Charles Owino has however defended the officers, saying there was no brutality as being claimed.
SEE ALSO :Travelers to be screened for ‘Chinese’ coronavirus- GovernmentSpeaking on one of the TV stations on Friday night, Owino said the police are well trained and knows when to use force and to what extent and that what was witnessed was the enforcement of the law.
He cautioned Kenyans against ignoring the curfew, saying they will not hesitate to arrest anyone flouting the directives.
“If you walk at night, we will arrest you. We have enough cells. If the cell in Central is full, we will take you to Kayole. If it is full, we will even take you to Machakos,” he said.
Police and commuters clashed at the Likoni ferry in Mombasa Friday afternoon, a scenario occasioned by overcrowding as residents rushed to beat the curfew deadline.
The situation was no different in Kisumu and Eldoret towns as police teargassed Kenyans for flouting the curfew rules.
Photos and clips of police beating up Kenyans who allegedly failed to adhere to the curfew emerged online with netizens condemning the police for using excessive force in handling Kenyans.

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