As authorities attempt to enforce a 21- day “lockdown” in selected counties to contain COVID-19 pandemic, PSVs are now evading police checkpoints.
Matatu operators plying Machakos, Kajiado, and Kisii have set base in Kitengela town from where they plan their exit to outside counties.
Because Kitengela and Athi River towns fall under the Nairobi Metropolitan Area, it is now easier for PSVs that ply the Machakos, Kajiado, and Kisii routes to other counties using classified and unclassified routes.
For example, our investigations reveal the vehicles ferrying passengers to Machakos start from Kitengela town and proceed to KAG East Africa University Campus turnoff, where they are driven to Mombasa Road and exit near Konza City/Machakos junction.
From the junction, the PSVs take a shortcut to Machakos town as they avoid a police roadblock/checkpoint at Small World in the Lukenya area.
Those going to Kisii move from Kitengela to Enkasiti/Birrika Road through to Kiserian/Isinya Road, cross over to Kajiado West on the Kipeto/Kajiado Road and proceed to Corner Baridi and Kimuka before connecting Ngong/Suswa Road to Narok, Bomet, and Litein.
A police roadblock is placed near Kiserian, several kilometres away from Birrika.
Vehicles travelling to Kajiado town also take Enkasiti/Birrika Road, then take a turn to Isinya town but make a right turn off after Parantai Poultry Farm to access Meru Petrol Station on the Isinya/Kajiado town road.
A police checkpoint is placed at Isinya Weigh Bridge and therefore the PSVs will sneak into Kajiado and Namanga unnoticed.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday declared a partial lockdown limiting access to the city but Kenyans have already devised new ways to beat the various police roadblocks mounted to ensure that the order is adhered to.
A video has emerged showing residents of Machakos County accessing the city through the banks of Athi River, as one person can be heard saying that they shall overcome the lockdown order.
”We are sure to overcome this whether they like it or not. You let in foreigners through the airports but now it is Kenyans who are suffering from the pandemic,” one person said while accusing the government of endangering Kenyan lives by letting in foreigners through Kenyan airports.
Police on Monday evening mounted several roadblocks across different entry and exit points within the city in a bid to stop the cross movement of citizens in and out of Nairobi as a way of limiting the spread of coronavirus to other parts of the country.
On Tuesday night some Kenyans were forced to spend the night in the cold as police officers blocked access of Kangundo Road, one of the entry points into the city.
With the emergence of this video, other Kenyans may use it as a benchmark to defy and come up with new ways of entering the city.
Some social media users condemned the actions of the residents, though some found their actions to be heroic and hilarious.
Munene Mutwiri on twitter has already thought of a business idea after watching the video.
”We will end up starting a new line of business. Smuggling people in and out of the containment regions. We cannot have the solution being worse than the problem,” said Mutwiri on his twitter handle.
With Nairobi playing a core role in the Kenyan economy one user pointed out how devolution could have helped sort out the problems and give the government an easy time managing the pandemic.
All these beg the question; just what positive outcome will the regional containment directive achieve now that hundreds, if not thousands, still find their way into and out of Nairobi?
As it has been seen in the last three days, in circumventing the ban, Kenyans have devised ways of crossing the checkpoints unnoticed, some with the help of the police.
Some persons who found themselves outside the border by the appointed 7 pm claim they ‘bought’ their way through the roadblocks as long as they were on foot.