Home Head On Humanitarian Survey challenges government’s lockdown of Old Town over Coronavirus

Survey challenges government’s lockdown of Old Town over Coronavirus

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[MUHURI Chairperson Khelef Khalid addressing journalists during release of the survey report. Photo/Bakari Ali].

Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) and Okoa Mombasa have challenged the government’s directive to lockdown Old Town when Coronavirus struck.

The government said Old Town and Nairobi’s Eastleigh area are epicentres, but it did not provide scientific evidence for its May 6 shutdown.

Questions were raised why more fragile areas like slums, whose conditions are worse than Old Town and Eastleigh did not suffer cessation of movement.

Survey

MUHURI, Okoa Mombasa and Old Town Residents Association surveyed Old Town to check the number of people who got tested, infected, or died from the virus.

Further, the survey sought to assess the impact of the lockdown on Old Town, particularly about the provision of basic needs.

The four-day survey started on June 1, with approximately 1,015 responses being received.

The findings released on Tuesday hugely differed with what the national and county governments presented.

The figures

According to the survey, 953 respondents (96 per cent) did not know anyone who had died of Covid-19.

About 95.5 per cent of 987 respondents did not test for the virus given their belief that the virus is not real.

“A central reason for respondents not volunteering to be tested for Covid-19 was the fear of being quarantined in facilities that did not meet basic hygiene standards, and sometimes at the expense of the patient, a very expensive undertaking,” the report says.

[Police patrolling Old Town area in Mombasa during the lockdown. File Photo].

The report notes: “Over half of all the respondents (58.6%) do not believe that Coronavirus is real. 41.3% believe that the virus is real, but many of these do not believe that the virus is in Africa, or in Kenya or in Old Town. Some respondents were of the view that the numbers or effect of the virus is exaggerated in Kenya.”

In tandem with this, the report says, a vast majority of the respondents do not know anyone who has been tested for Covid-19 in Old Town.

Nevertheless, the survey adds, 8.5 per cent of 942 respondents did know someone who had tested positive for Covid-19, and the names that kept recurring were the late Sheikh Karama and the late Syed Peer of Madobini.

“Many had heard this information from the media.

Respondents also pointed to their families as having undergone quarantine at home and at TUM,” the study shows.

Reimbursement

The three are demanding that Mombasa County Government justifies the cessation of movement directive.

They also demand reimbursement of all expenses paid for quarantine by the County Government since the Government undertook to pay for quarantine.

“Redress by authorities for hardships suffered during the cessation of movement period, including loss of business during Ramadan peak period, loss of income and necessities, unwarranted restrictions of freedom of movement and the right to practice religion among other negative consequences,” the report says.

Old Town residents asked for redress by political leadership for the intimidation, coercion, and failure to engage the public before making and implementing the unjustifiable cessation of movement directive.