Security officers in Nakuru and Kajiado, have tightened security at roadblocks and plan to use drones to arrest those sneaking into and out of areas under partial lockdown.
Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya on Monday said that the police are considering introducing use of drones to arrest ‘suicidal Kenyans’ who are evading roadblocks.
“We have realised there are people who have continued using panya routes to move in and out of the disease infected zone, some using boda-boda.
We will tighten security at the roadblocks and use drones to arrest those evading the roadblocks,” Natembeya told Nation.Africa.
“The technology will enable us to arrest boda-boda riders who have been aiding the offenders.
We must do everything possible to tame suicidal Kenyans from irresponsible movements that can cost them their lives,” Natembeya added.
He said drones fitted with high density cameras will be able to monitor any movement from a distance of five kilometers.
The gadgets, he said will greatly boost operations at the roadblocks.
Natembeya said more roadblocks will be erected to enforce Covid-19 containment measures.
“I wish to take this opportunity to issue a stern warning to those flouting the lockdown restrictions. Culprits will face the full force of the law,” he said.
The administrator also warned police against accepting bribes to allow people to flout the containment measures saying. Such officers, he said, will face immediate disciplinary action.
He also called on members of the public to observe Covid-19 rules and cooperate with the government so as to flatten the curve amid rising cases of Covid-19.
“There are good citizens who are heeding government directives but there are others devising crooked ways to get in or out of the restricted areas.
Kenyans must take personal responsibility, because it is their lives that are at risk,” he added.
A spot check of various roadblocks in Nakuru on Monday revealed that members of the public continue using tricks to evade roadblocks, including colluding with boda-boda operators.
Nation.Africa also learnt that some rogue motorists are parting with between Sh2,000 and Sh8,000 to pass through the roadblocks.
The motorists collude with the police officers to be allowed to bypass the roadblocks.
One boda-boda operator we spoke to said they have been helping travelers enter and leave Nakuru at a fee of between Sh500 and Sh1000 per person.
“We are helping people who are in dire need. We know we are risking our lives, but it is because of money. We all need money during these difficult times,” he said.
The panya routes conversely posed danger to the users.
On Monday, Molo Sub-county chief Hassan Waweru, confirmed that two rape cases have been reported in the area as travelers evade the roadblock through these routes.
“It is sad to see some boda-boda riders taking advantage of travelers. I am urging the public to adhere to the government-imposed restrictions as a way of preventing the spread of the virus. It is not a punishment,” Mr Waweru said.
Meanwhile, at the Mau-Summit-Kericho Highway roadblock at Londiani Junction, travelers without legal document were on Monday barred from moving in and out of Nakuru County.
More than 50 public vehicles using the highway from Kericho, Western and Nakuru areas were turned back after failure to present the required documentation as per the law.
Kenyans have come up with tactics of evading roadblocks with the majority being those travelling to western part of the country.
Traffic police officers have arrested them and they will be arraigned in court,” Natembeya said on Monday.
In his address on the Covid-19 pandemic last week, President Kenyatta declared the counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru, disease infested and ordered the cessation of movement into and out of them.
Later, the government clarified that the public can move freely within the said zones but is prohibited from travelling into and out of it.
In a bid to tighten the Covid-19 measures to contain a deadly third wave, President Kenyatta also suspended all public gatherings within the zoned area.