UPDATE: Eko Dydda was released on 22nd April, after the needed intervention. Thank you to all who spoke out. Like Eko Dydda, many Kenyans are at risk of inhumane isolation and forced quarantine by the Kenya police which is enforcing the national Covid-19 curfew rules. Because of forced quarantine, a sick Sylvia Dydda has been left alone with two children, after her husband was forced into quarantine by Police with the excuse of preventing Coronavirus spread.
Perhaps clear rules governing the containment of Coronavirus would prevent the unnecessary use of authority and subsequent waste of resources. But what is forced Quarantine and is it necessary or just a waste of Authority by Kenya Police? Has the curfew been used as an excuse for Police brutality? Is it legal to use forced quarantine as punishment for everyone breaking the national curfew? How do we protect people in abusive relationships who are on Coronavirus lockdown together?Like Eko Dydda, many Kenyans are at risk of inhumane isolation and forced quarantine by the Kenya police which is enforcing the national Covid-19 curfew rules. Click To Tweet
How my husband was put into Forced Quarantine – Sylvia DyddaPerhaps clear rules governing the containment of Coronavirus would prevent the unnecessary use of authority and subsequent waste of resources. Click To Tweet
Quarantining and isolating people who may be exposed to the virus is important but some cases of forced quarantine like that of Eko Dydda are unnecessary. His was a medical emergency with a patient who still needs care.
This is unlike the 300 people who were recently sent to forced quarantine after they broke the public health law in the fight against the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
Majority of those sent to the centres for 14 days were found taking alcohol in private premises, open fields and bars, partying, weddings, trying to break the partial lockdown rule in Nairobi and operating outside the curfew hours.Quarantining and isolating people who may be exposed to the virus is important but some cases of forced quarantine like that of Eko Dydda are unnecessary. His was a medical emergency with a patient who still needs care. Click To Tweet
Kenya’s coronavirus movement and travel restrictions:
- Borders shut and flights restricted
- Night-time curfew between 19:00 and 05:00 local time
- No travel to or from the capital Nairobi and parts of the city’s neighbouring counties. Such measures also apply to some coastal counties
- Schools, pubs, entertainment venues, churches and mosques shut
- Everyone required to wear face masks in public and face arrest for not doing so
- Employers encouraged to allow staff to work from home
- All places of work required to have a hand-washing area with soap and water or approved hand sanitiser
- Cashless transactions encouraged
To understand how the lockdown affects class and impacts the spread of Coronavirus, we highly recommend this article: Covid-19 Pandemic Exposing the Rich and the Poor Divide in Kenya
Kenyans found loitering past curfew hours to be subjected to forced quarantine at own costMany daily wage workers risk forced quarantine as the Informal employment contributes 83% of all jobs in Kenya, with those workers particularly vulnerable, living from pay cheque to pay cheque. Click To Tweet
Sylvia Dydda Narrates Eko’s Forced Quarantine Ordeal:
My name is Sylvia Dydda. I have been unwell since January. I have high blood pressure and a high heart pulse that has led to facial palsy and other complications that have affected my mobility. I am not able to walk properly. I am taking BP meds and neuro care for the nerves.
On Saturday, my medicines ran out and my husband, Eko Dydda, father to our two amazing kids decided to go buy them. He went to a pharmacy near our neighbourhood, in the late afternoon, but he couldn’t find the medication.
He then decided to drive to Nairobi CBD where he found and bought the medication. On his way home, he got a puncture at around 6:30pm and by the time he had fixed it, it was about 6:50pm. He continued with the journey home and on reaching Ngong Road, near Coptic Hospital, he found a police road block at around 7:10pm.
Eko Dydda’s Arrest by Police
Eko Dydda was stopped and arrested. The police had commissioned a breakdown truck and every car that violated the curfew was being towed to Kilimani Police Station. The car owner was then put in a police vehicle and driven to the Police Station.
On reaching the Police Station, Eko was booked in the cells. My medicine was left inside the car. Early Sunday morning, my neighbour took me to the Police Station because I could not walk properly. On arrival, the officer manning the Occurrence Book asked if l had money to pay bail for my husband, following which he would be required to appear at Milimani Court on Monday.
I think I asked too many questions, as l pleaded his case, because they eventually told me to get out of the Police Station and only return when I had the money. I went outside for a bit and then went back in to ask if I could pay via m-pesa. The officer replied, “toka hapa, enda leta cash” (Get out and go come with cash). I was secretly recording our conversation.
I left again to go and withdraw Ksh10,000, then returned and gave the officer the requested bail of Ksh5,000. I wasn’t aware that he had noticed I had recorded him, so he told me, “Leta pesa ndio nikuandikie receipt” (Give me the money so I can give you a receipt). I gave him the Ksh5,000 cash and he started opening drawers, so I thought he was looking for a receipt book. He took out a brown envelope, put the money inside and told me, “Enda nje” (Go outside), then he chased me out of his office.
After waiting for an hour, he brought Eko out from the cells, handed him the receipt and told him to go pay the towing charges to the breakdown vehicle operators, since it was they who had his car keys. We found the breakdown vehicle people behind the toilets. I found that weird. I told them l would only pay them if l got a receipt. They referred me to a female police officer who came, picked the Ksh5,000 cash and then took me to a shop inside the police station and gave me a receipt, after I requested it.
I asked her for the car keys and she told me that they were with the officer to whom l had paid the cash bail and who had lied to me that the breakdown vehicle guys had them. Eko went to get the keys and as I was waiting for him, I heard one of the officers saying, “Hii mama imetu record hajui tuna weza poteza hii mutu yake.” (This woman recorded us and she doesn’t know we can make her man disappear.) We got into our car and drove off.
On our way home, Eko received two phone calls asking us to go back and collect the car. Eko told the caller he’d already picked the car. Then they asked him about the receipt for the bail and Eko told them he had collected the receipt as well. That was around 9:30am. The caller’s phone number was 0721254408 and his name, according to m-pesa, is James Samira. We arrived home and Eko showered and slept.
The police, however, kept calling. We ignored their calls. Eko received calls from four different numbers calling from Kilimani, one of them from a female officer. She told Eko that someone who was in the cells with him had died and he should go back to record a statement. They gave him a number (0756479296) to call when he arrived. While on the call, we overheard someone say, “Hii mtu pekee ndio umepea receipt, hii ni shida.” (You issued a receipt to one person, this is problematic).
We arrived back at the station at around 12:30pm. Eko was re-arrested and they took back the receipts they had given us but, luckily, l had taken pictures. The officer who had issued us with the bail told us to take back our money because the bail had been cancelled by the boss. Out of all the people who had been arrested that evening, we were the only ones who had insisted on being issued with a receipt.
Eko had left me outside the Police Station and when l went inside to follow up on what was going on, l was told that since I had recorded them, they were going to teach my husband a lesson. “This is Eko Dydda, the President gave artists Ksh100 million, he will vomit this money”, one officer told me.
The OCS came and ordered his officers to take Eko to “that place.” I didn’t know where “that place” was but, later in the day, Eko called and informed me that he had been taken to the quarantine center at KMTC. He told me there were about 200 people there. He was given a blanket and a bed. Up until now, no tests have been taken and he was told the tests would be done on the day they were supposed to get discharged.
l went to KMTC Mbagathi, where l met the officers who had taken Eko there. They told me, “Eko paid us Ksh10,000 and insisted on a receipt. Now he will pay the government Ksh28,000.” They went on to say, “Where do you think our money will come from? It comes from the citizens. I will teach him a lesson.
The police officer in Kilimani stopped about 50 motorists on Saturday night but only your husband is giving us problems. If you share the video, we will come, arrest you with your children and take you to quarantine.”
Eko Dydda’s Story of KMTC Mbagathi Quarantine Center
Editor’s Note: I have spoken to Eko. Here is his story what’s happening at KMTC Mbagathi. When we arrived, we were told this is prison, it’s not quarantine and we are prisoners. We weren’t tested during arrest and we shared the cell in Kilimani Police Station with other people. At the quarantine centre, people arrested all over are in the same place. The only time you get out of the room is to go pick food but people here aren’t observing rules.
They’re bitter, because no tests were taken and they feel they might get infected with Coronavirus. The quarantine is like a dormitory but with individual cubicles, we are sharing toilets and bathrooms.
We have been told we shall be tested after 14 days, and if one or two people are found to be positive, all of us shall be held in quarantine for another 14 days.
Most of the people here, are from the ghetto, those who couldn’t afford to bribe police, and l don’t think they will afford to pay the quarantine charges. It seems the government is trying to justify spending the Coronavirus budget on forced quarantine.
FYI: Police aren’t only targeting motorists. Police are doing swoops in low-income areas and arresting people for simply walking around. My friend was extorted out of Ksh 10,000 at Buru Buru Police Station, to get his younger brother and his friend released. The police arrested them while they were standing outside their house chilling.
They were given an option to pay the bribe, or be taken to quarantine at their own cost. Kenya isn’t yet on lockdown but #KenyaPoliceForce and their bosses at Police Headquarters have found a way to make quick money. The threat of quarantine is forcing people to bribe. What will happen to those who can’t afford to pay quarantine fees, will they be sent to prison?
Forced Quarantine Fears of those who can’t stay at home – BBC Africa
As the number of coronavirus cases in Kenya rise, citizens have been advised to stay at home in isolation. The country began a 19:00 to 05:00 curfew on Friday.
Informal employment contributes 83% of all jobs in Kenya, with those workers particularly vulnerable, living from pay cheque to pay cheque.
BBC Africa spoke to Esther, a domestic worker in the capital Nairobi. Video producers: Anne Okumu, Njoroge Muigai and Priscilla Ng’ethe.
EDITORIAL: Police brutality has no place in modern Kenya
The damage police brutality has caused during this electioneering period alone is unacceptable and only validates the agency’s long running image as a service packed with rogue officers.
Photographs, videos and personal accounts of police officers maiming or even killing protesters are out in the public and not even political lies or public relations spins would erase the nasty deeds of some of the officers.
Scores of people remain in hospital across the country nursing wounds inflicted by the police while many families are mourning loved ones felled by bullets fired by the very officers who ought to shield them from harm.
Some of the maimed or killed are young children who had nothing to do with the political duels or protests.
While the government has repeatedly defended the police for their actions, we believe that doing so only worsens the situation. It entrenches the perception that the agency is one that obeys no laws and its officers are free to brutalise and even kill citizens at the slightest provocation.Business Daily Africa
Other Articles about Coronavirus in Kenya:
- Covid-19 Pandemic Exposing the Rich and the Poor Divide in Kenya
- What should we know about sex in self-isolation during the Coronavirus Outbreak?
- Biological Weapon: Is Coronavirus a man made virus engineered in a lab?
- What can we do for the millions of Africans like me who have lost jobs and daily income due to Coronavirus?
- Domestic Violence: How do we protect people in abusive relationships who are on Coronavirus lockdown together?
- COVID-19: Will Kenya Prevail? Or will it be a Cautionary Tale?
- This Must be said in One Voice!
- MESSAGE TO SURVIVORS: What lesson is this Coronavirus apocalypse teaching those who will survive?
- Politics above Health: Can I be a prophet of doom for once and spread my Coronavirus Conspiracy theory?
- FAO, African Union make Food Security Commitment amid Covid-19 Crisis
- Economic Disruption as demand for Chinese Produce falls
Recommended Reading on Forced Quarantine
- Coronavirus Crisis – Fact Check: A Blanket National Quarantine Is Likely Not Legal – Brian Naylor
- What are benefits of quarantine or isolation? – WebMD
- Why a national quarantine will not be the solution to the coronavirus By Jonathan Turley
- KNH doctor forced into quarantine
- The Advantages of National Quarantine
- What diseases are subject to Federal isolation and quarantine law?
- Quarantine and Isolation for Infectious Diseases – WebMD
- The Science Behind A 14-Day Quarantine After Possible COVID-19 Exposure
- Can You Be Forced to Quarantine or to Stay Home? Your Questions, Answered
- Legal Authorities for Isolation and Quarantine
- COVID-19: Understanding Quarantine, Isolation and Social Distancing in a Pandemic
- Explaining a mass quarantine: What does it mean to ‘shelter in place’? And who has the power to call for it? – Nicholas Florko
- The Ethics of Quarantine by Ross Upshur, MD, MA, MSc
Other Articles by Boniface Mwangi:
- Son of a Thief: How do the Rich Acquire Wealth in Kenya?
- Health Insurance Fraud in Kenya: You are One Call Away From Poverty
- Boniface Mwangi: My experience as a political candidate…
- Caroline Mwatha: How they got away with Murder…
- Boniface Mwangi: Kenya Has Failed Her Youth
- COVID-19: Will Kenya Prevail? Or will it be a Cautionary Tale?
- Defenders Coalition: When the Kenyan Constitution is a ‘Piece of Paper…’
- Robert Alai Arrest: Silence in Kenya by Activists, Journalists about Injustice
Self Quarantine Directives by Ministry of Health
WHAT IS SELF QUARANTINE ?
Self quarantine is an act of individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 separating themselves for 14 days to monitor if the develope symptoms.
WHO SHOULD SELF QUARANTINE ?
Anyone who has traveled within the past 14 days to a country with sustained reported COVID-19 cases or has had close contact with a person showing COVID-19 symptoms.
WHAT DOES SELF QUARANTINE ENTAIL ?
- stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom if available.Disinfect surfaces and clothing.
- Ensure surfaces in the household are cleaned and disinfected.
- Avoid sharing household items.Wash this items thoroughly after use.
- Clean your hands with soap and running water for up to 20 seconds.if that is not available,clean with alcohol based hand sanitizer.
- No visitors unless the person needs to be in your home.
- wear a facemask if you must be around other people.
Home Care of People not Requiring Hospitalisation for COVID-19
This interim guidance is for staff at local and county health departments, infection prevention and control
teams, and healthcare personnel who are coordinating the home care and isolation of people with confirmed
or suspected COVID-19 infection presenting with mild symptoms and when managing contacts, including
persons under investigation. For the purpose of this document, caregivers refer to parents, spouses, other
family members or friends without formal healthcare training.
What actions can other sectors take to contain COVID-19?
- Suspend all public gatherings,face to face meetings and events.
- Suspend all inter school events.
- All public transport providers to provide hand sanitizers to clients and regular cleaning of the vehicles.
- Suspend visit to prisons for the next 30 days.
- Avoid use of social media to spread misinformation.All official communication that will circulate will have government logo.
Read more from Kenya’s Ministry of Health: COVID-19