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23 Arrested for failure to wear masks in Kabarnet

A lady from Baringo Central Sub-county, appearing before Kabarnet Resident Magistrate, Vienna Amboko, after being accused of being in public place without a face mask meant to guard against exposure to coronavirus. Photo by KNA.
A middle aged woman from Baringo Central Sub-county, appearing before Kabarnet Resident Magistrate, Vienna Amboko, after being accused of two counts of being in a public place without a face mask meant to guard against exposure to coronavirus and failure to observe social distance. Photo by KNA.

Some 23 people have been arrested and charged in a Kabarnet court for failure to comply with Covid-19 prevention measures.

The accused persons were rounded up at various streets, estates and markets within Kabarnet town on Tuesday for failure to wear masks and or not keeping the one metre distance, as stipulated in the Public Health Act that covers Covid-19 control measures.

The charge sheet read that the accused persons failed to maintain social distance of not less than one metre from the next person on a public place during the prevention period contrary to section 6(1)(a) as read with rule four (4) of the Public Health Act (Covid-19 restrictions measures of persons and related measures) rules 2020.

“You are charged that on the 21st day of April 2020 at about 10:30 hours at Kabarnet Township in Baringo Central Sub-county within Baringo County, you were found failing to wear a mask as required under the law,” read the particulars of the charges.

All the 23 pleaded guilty before the Kabarnet Resident Magistrate, Vienna Amboko and were fined Sh.500 per count or an imprisonment term of 14 days for those that failed to pay.

However, the accused persons lamented to the press over the manner in which they were handled, saying it could pre-dispose them to contract the infectious disease.

“It beats logic to be arrested for not keeping social distance and then bundled in a small cell, lamented a young man who sought anonymity.

He further stated that if any one of them tested positive for coronavirus, then all of them would be infected as the tiny cell they were confined for more than five hours was very small and they were exposed to body contacts amidst poor ventilation.

Contacted for comment, the Baringo Central Sub-county Police Commander, Francis Gichoki, acknowledged the risk and promised to rectify the situation in future.

Gichoki said the crackdown which had just started will continue until people realize that it was a criminal offence to walk in public places without a face mask and not observing social distancing.

He further warned that anyone found violating the guidelines, will be arrested and prosecuted in a court of law.

The  Police Commander commended residents of Baringo Central for complying with the curfew order, adding that everything being enforced by the government was for their own safety.

Gichoki also commended the County Government for creating awareness on the dangers of the Covid-19 and ensuring compliance on curfew order across the Sub-county.

By  Christopher Kiprop

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