The government will suspend Matatu Saccos that fail to comply with the Health Ministry’s regulations for curbing the spread of Covid-19 disease during the festive season.
Nakuru County Commissioner (CC) Erastus Mbui Mwenda said some public service vehicles (PSVs) have defied the national government’s directive to reduce the number of travelers in each vehicle issued by Health Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe.
The administrator while urging Kenyans to avoid unnecessary travel stated that a special team comprising police officers and the County enforcement unit had been formed to crack down on public service vehicles plying major highways to and from Western Kenya that will flout the regulations.
Mbui who spoke when he issued land ownership documents to 61-year-old Charles Macharia Gachie who was gifted with a piece of land and a brand-new house by President Uhuru Kenyatta said security personnel have intensified patrols to curb acts of lawlessness during the festive season.
The County Commissioner urged residents to be more vigilant during Christmas and New Year festivities when criminals are known to prey on unsuspecting members of the public.
He said security personnel would not hesitate to arrest all those found flouting the Covid -19 pandemic regulations including the 10pm to 4am curfew that is in force.
“Owners of entertainment joints should exercise maximum responsibility to avoid putting lives of revelers at risk. Any outlet found to have failed to ensure that its customers observe social distancing risks having its permit revoked permanently,” warned the CC.
Mr Mwenda expressed concern that most Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) were not providing sanitizers, soap and water for their passengers as directed. He advised members of the public not to board any vehicles carrying passengers exceeding the Minister’s directive.
He added “We will arrest transporters who are yet to comply with the advisory. All Kenyans have an individual responsibility to do their part because if the virus is not contained it may hurt the economy. ”
The County Commissioner said Public Health Officers were under instructions to crack the whip on supermarkets, hotels and restaurants that were not observing guidelines and regulations aimed at controlling the spread of the virus.
Kagwe has since directed 14-seater matatus to carry a maximum of eight passengers, 25-seaters to carry 15, buses whose sitting capacity is 30 and above to have 60 percent sitting capacity. Hotels and restaurants have been banned from operating beyond 10pm.
Mwenda called on parents to prepare themselves adequately in readiness for schools reopening on January 4th next year. He called on Kenyans to avoid overindulging in alcohol binges adding that police will be on the lookout for drunk and disorderly persons and those driving under influence of alcohol.
Mr Macharia who has been living with his four sons and two daughters in an iron sheet house located in the compound of Unfolding Glory Ministries Church in Teacher’s Estate thanked the Head of State for the kind gesture.
The two-bedroom house at Murunyu Village within Bahati Sub-County had initially been meant for the family of Damaris Wambui, whose son, Dennis Ngaruiya, had in 2014 left President Kenyatta in stitches after presenting a poem at the 3rd Kenya Rifles Battalion barracks in Lanet.
But Ms Wambui rejected the house, claiming that State House officials tasked with managing the project had shortchanged her family by constructing a house “not worthy as a gift from the Head of State”.
By Jane Ngugi /Dennis Rasto