Introduction

The outbreak of covid-19 has seen countries across the globe impose and deploy various measures in an attempt to reduce infections, flatten the curve and return to normalcy. The African continent and the East African Community have not been left out. So far Rwanda and Uganda are under a total lockdown with Rwanda being the first country in Africa to do so[i]while Kenya has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew throughout the Kenyan territory.[ii] In addition there is in place a cessation of movement from Nairobi City County[iii]- the infection hotspot, Kilifi County, Kwale County and Mombasa County within the Coastal strip.[iv] The latest entrant to the list of counties under containment is Mandera County.[v]This article seeks to put into perspective the enforcement of the curfew. To this end, the enforcement of the curfew by the National Police Service [hereinafter the Service] will be contextualized with regards to their mandate and powers under enabling provisions vis-à-vis their conduct. The author concludes by providing a legal remedy to those that have and will likely fall victim of the excesses of the Service.

  1. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-Cov-2) Covid-19

Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic first broke out in Wuhan Province of the People’s Democratic Republic of China towards the sunset days of 2019 and subsequently spread to the rest of the world in the hay days of 2020. The outbreak necessitated immediate and urgent measures to curb its effects on the world populations. Kenya reported its first covid-19 case on 10 March 2020. In the following days the number of infections has grown exponentially and the government has sought to curb its further spread while aiming at flattening the curve. A number of measures have been taken, inter alia, the imposition of a daily curfew from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.[vi] The other measures put in place are self-executing i.e. thorough washing of hands with soap and running water for at least twenty seconds, maintaining a one-meter social distance, hygienic coughing and sneezing and later the hitherto discouraged practise of adorning face masks while in public, et cetera.[vii]

[i] https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-rwanda-imposes-africas-first-lockdown/a-52878787.

[ii] Kenya Gazette, Special Issue, Legal Notice No. 36 published on 26th March 2020.

[iii] For the sake of the containment-cum-cessation of movement Nairobi City County is referred to as Nairobi Metropolitan Area incorporating some portions of Machakos County, Kajiado County and Kiambu County as seen in Legal Notice(s) No. 51 of 2020 dated 06 April 2020.

[iv] Legal Notice(s) No. 52, 53 and 54 of 2020 dated 06 April 2020.

[v] Following a surge in numbers in the County, and its location as a corner county neighbouring Ethiopia and Somalia, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health added the county on 22 April 2020 during his daily briefings (the 36th Briefing).

[vi] Kenya Gazette, Special Issue, Legal Notice No. 36 published on 26th March 2020.

[vii] https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses.