As the World battles with the Novel Coronavirus, the people living in Wajir, a County in North Eastern part of Kenya still believe that the virus is a myth and not real.
A close look in Wajir’s local hotels, tea-joints, markets, supermarkets, football fields, local transport sector and even residential homes gives one a clear sign of indiscipline and unprepared society.
Even after the government announced clear and preventive measures such as wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, avoiding shaking hands and crowded places; the situation in Wajir County is different from other parts of the country and the world by extension. People still walk in groups, shake hands, accord each other friendly hugs, eat in groups and gather in their local functions.
Weddings are still conducted the same way like before, attended by hundreds of people including government officials hence breaching the social distancing rule. Some even breach the 7PM-5AM curfew time frame and escort the bride to her home at 8PM and beyond leaving others wondering on who enforces the law selectively and not in uniform.
Local hotels still serve sit-down meals contrary to the regulations imposed by the government that all hotels must only serve take-away meals. Tea-joints are still crowded. Middle aged men sitting in groups and each sipping a cup of tea as they make stories fill the tea dens daily.
Football fields are full to the brim every day. Locally arranged matches are played like before. Young kids who have no idea of the Coronavirus pandemic play in groups along the roads and outside of their homes. Most of the parents have taken no role in fighting the spread of Covid-19 as evident in their children.
Some parents have also gone out of their way and hired teachers to teach their children at homes when all the schools in the country are closed as one of the measures to fight Covid-19 pandemic.
In some villages, villagers have defied the government’s directive of closing the places of worship and say their prayers in mosques without using amplifiers.
Most of the Somalis are still inclined to the age old traditional beliefs. Some even believe that Coronavirus only attacks people of a certain region, race or religion but not them or anyone who shares the same ideology. This idea is not only common in Wajir County but is widely shared in almost all the Somali inhibited areas.
There is clear and undeniable laxity in the part of Wajir County Government too. Recently, it has emerged that the two victims of Covid-19 from Mandera County spend a night in leheley, a 10 minute drive location outside Wajir Town and had their breakfast in one of the hotels located in Wajir’s CBD before proceeding to Mandera. Till date, the said hotel is still operational and the contacts were never traced.
While Counties like Marsabit which shares boundary with Mandera County have closed it’s borders with the infected areas for fear of Coronavirus, vehicles from Mandera still reach Wajir County.
It is not clear on who to blame on this extreme carelessness in Wajir County a time when the powerful countries like Italy and US are on the brink of giving up even after its citizens complied with the government’s regulations fully amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
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