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School closure over corona not a holiday, says Baringo Chief

Mourners queuing to view the body of Mzee Wilson Kibogong Chelimo who died on Saturday last week after he accidentally fell on a rocky cliff near Kabiyewo village in Kasisit sub-location in Baringo North. Photo by KNA.

A  Chief from Kabartonjo division in Baringo North sub-county has cautioned parents against letting their children congregate for plays in villages saying schools closure over coronavirus was not a holiday.

The Saimo location, Chief Benson Amdany Sumukwo noted that he was much disturbed to see most children in his location play from morning to evening as parents left them on their own especially at this critical moment of the deadly coronavirus in which eight more people have tested positive.

Sumukwo who was addressing mourners at Kabiyewo village in Kasisit sub-location during the funeral of Mzee Wilson Kibogong Chelimo asked parents to stay close with their children and engage them in house chores besides allocating them time for study.

The local administrator warned that he would take action against any of his residents especially traders and shop owners caught ignoring the government’s directive of availing sanitizers and water for the compulsory hand washing which was an effective way of containing the spread of the deadly viral disease.

Sumukwo warned his residents against ignoring government directive of hand washing saying the disease, which is currently a global pandemic, would easily spread silently if people especially at village level continued taking for granted the instructions provided by the Ministry of Health.

The Saimo Chief asked male youth and old men fond of streaming towards trading centres in the evening to watch news saying they should stop the habit and watch televisions at their homes with family members.

“From Monday onwards, I will take action against people who ignore the government’s call to have all Kenyans practice hand washing and keeping social distance of one metre. Also, this habit of crowding in shops at the evening especially among the male youth should stop immediately because doing so will be endangering our lives should there be a person who has the virus,” he reiterated.

Sumukwo  advised family members working in places like Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Busia to stop travelling to their villages, saying it was not a holiday for coming to greet people at villages but should be a moment for self-quarantine.

The  Saimo Chief also asked motorcycle operators popularly known as boda boda to observe hygiene by availing sanitizers and water for themselves and their passengers adding that they should also be keen on use of helmets with their clients.

The Chief’s sentiments were echoed by an opinion leader in Baringo North, Job Chesaro Lang’urathy who expressed concern over failure by bar owners to observe closure notice given early this week jointly by County Commissioner (CC), Henry  Wafula and governor, Stanley Kiptis.

“I am much disturbed to see and hear some bar owners in big towns within Baringo like Kabarnet, Marigat, Mogotio, Kabartonjo, Chemolingot and Eldama Ravine operating their businesses secretly past recommended time of 7:30pm and locking customers inside then use dim lights so that they don’t get noticed; are they colluding with the police who are seen patrolling in the towns,” he said.

Meanwhile, during the burial of Mzee Kibogong the mourners exercised caution over coronavirus and ensured that they washed their hands with sanitizers and running water as they entered the homestead of the deceased and at their departure.

The keeping of social distance of one metre apart was also observed in the sitting arrangement and a tent which normally accommodated 100 people who are seated had the number reduced by half.

Chief  Sumukwo quipped that despite coronavirus fear, he had a difficult task trying to enforce the government’s directive of limiting the number of mourners to 50 during the funeral dominated heavily by Tugen customary laws which termed it a taboo to turn away relatives who come to mourn in a burial ceremony of their kin.

By  Vincent  Miningwo/Christopher Kiprop

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