Justice in the Wake of Covid 19

Leonida Odongo
Posted March 31, 2020 from Kenya

The Covid 19 pandemic has thrown the world into a disarray. Everything has changed from how we relate, communication, how we work and how we associate. It has also affected things as basic as going to the market, access to water, visits to neighbours, going to church and travelling. It has also brought forth discrimination and labelling. It has awoken mankind to working at home and utilisation of technology. It has brought untold suffering to families and quarantine to contain further spread. It has brought air travel literally to a standstill, with airlines counting losses and public transport almost grounding to a halt. It has closed up hotels and led to job losses.

Sadly, Covid 19 has also bred fertile grounds for injustice to prevail and vulnerable groups to be more affected. Take for instance families living in informal settlements. With privatisation of water, the cost of water is shouldered mostly by the poor. Research shows that poor households tend to pay more for water compared to more affluent ones, this is because they cannot afford for example to buy an entire tank but have to content with 20 litre jerry cans which end up costing more if one calculates monthly or even annually. Time and again we are told to prevent and contain Corona virus, wash your hands with water and soap, use of hand sanitisers is also promoted. But sad reality is that many informal settlements do not have access to running water and may not have sanitisers and face masks.

Security apparatus in many countries in Africa have become more brutal to citizens in the wake of Covid 19 take for example citizens being flogged for not adhering to laid down curfew hours. Citizenry are now nursing injuries thanks to police brutality meted on those who were unable to be at home by the stipulated time of 7pm in Kenya. Persons with disability have also not been spared, when the curfew time comes and you are not yet at home, woe unto you. Island dwellers who have to depend on ferry to get home have also not been spared[1] and in some instances people not adhering to the laid down curfew rules have been put together collectively, which is contrary to the social distancing. Lives have also been lost for example a 13-year-old boy shot by police in Kiamaiko during curfew.[2]As reported by AllAfrica.com, Rwanda was the first African country to order a total lockdown with citizens staying indoors. On public transport, the number of passengers in buses and Matatus[3] has decreased to maintain social distance. This means the bus fares have gone up and these costs have to be borne by the ordinary citizenry who depend on public transport. Additionally, Kenyans coming from abroad, have had quarantine at their own costs[4].

Many Kenyans depend on daily wages to eke out a living and in a day each category of Kenyans makes their peak sales. For fish mongers for example, who in Kenya are mainly women, customers come for fish mainly in the evenings. Curfew times thus means that they cannot sell their fish and either remain at home, stop selling their fish and this has implications for household purchasing power.

With the lock downs and curfews, many poor people are more concerned with how they will bring food on the table given the restrictive movements and times. Petty traders have to close up early, areas that are lucky enough have had markets fumigated. In some cases, markets have been closed off as a measure of containing the virus[5]. Petty traders are lamenting that they spend more money to buy water and soap for their customers. Additionally, panic buying has been recorded with sanitisers, tissue papers, grains disappearing from supermarket shelves. With the lock down and curfews it means the survivors will only be those who can afford to buy more food and stock their houses.

Although Covid 19 has altered the world at a drastic pace, it should not be used as an opportunity for violating rights of people more so vulnerable groups.

 

References

https://www.kenyans.co.ke/news/51475-police-shoot-dead-13-year-old-during-curfew

https://www.nation.co.ke/counties/kisumu/Kisumu-market-closed-amid-coronavirus-fears/1954182-5500490-nuac4b/index.html

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/03/27/822559830/in-kenya-security-forces-attack-ferry-passengers-trying-to-make-coronavirus-curf

https://allafrica.com/stories/202003260464.html

[1] https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/03/27/822559830/in-kenya-security-forces-attack-ferry-passengers-trying-to-make-coronavirus-curf

[2] https://www.kenyans.co.ke/news/51475-police-shoot-dead-13-year-old-during-curfew

[3] A minibus used as a form of public transport

[4] https://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2020/03/inbound-passengers-to-be-quarantined-at-own-cost-ahead-of-airspace-shutdown-cs-kagwe/

[5] https://www.nation.co.ke/counties/kisumu/Kisumu-market-closed-amid-coronavirus-fears/1954182-5500490-nuac4b/index.html

 

 

 

 

 

Comments 12

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Jill Langhus
Apr 01
Apr 01

Hi Leonida,

How are you doing, dear? Thanks for sharing your very sad, but real account of what you see, and hear, around you. It does seem like it could be an opportunity for an opportunity for human rights to be violated. Hopefully this will stop, as well as the increase in spam and certain people taking advantage of most people being in a collective panic.

You may want to consider submitting this for the COV-19 story call:
https://www.worldpulse.com/raise-your-voice/dispatches-covid-19-pandemic...

Leonida Odongo
Apr 03
Apr 03

Dear Jill,

It is indeed a sad situation that brings more vulnerability.I will submit a story on the CoV-19 call .

Thank you

Jill Langhus
Apr 03
Apr 03

I agree. Okay, dear.

You're welcome!

Marie Abanga
Apr 02
Apr 02

Dear Leonida,

Thanks for sharing this well researched post. Indeed, it is a time of so much uncertainty, disparity and outright panic from all angles. I honestly see a similar situation in my country and here we had the military in my city to catch up and lock people who were not home at the 6 pm mandate. I don't know if that's still effective though. It is so hard for many and all we can do is our own best.
Light and love
Marie

Leonida Odongo
Apr 03
Apr 03

Dear Marie ,

It is indeed a sad situation.

Tamarack Verrall
Apr 04
Apr 04

Dear Leonida,
As we work to raise our voices together it is information like this that is so important for us all to know so that we can speak out as one voice for our governments, so intertwined through globally connected business, to take responsibility for those who have the least, first. We are in the midst of this dangerous disaster, and it is this moment that the unjust extra charges to individuals need to be transferred to those who have unfairly gained.
In sisterhood,
Tam

Leonida Odongo
Apr 06
Apr 06

I agree with you Tam

Thank you, dear Leonida, for speaking up. What you write is true. There are people who exploit and take advantage of this crisis. I wonder if your government is doing something to provide basic needs to the poor and vulnerable. They definitely need support more than ever.

Leonida Odongo
Apr 06
Apr 06

Dear Karen,

It was announced that the government will be providing hand sanitisers.About provision of food and basic necessities , civil society are carrying out various activities to cushion vulnerable groups from availing water containers, hand washing soap and creating awareness .

Marvin Zinn1
Apr 06
Apr 06

You have common sense that is so uncommon! In the United States we have begun unconstitutional rules. Whoever forces them should be fired.
It was already statistically proven that this new coronavirus from China is no worse than normal flu each year. No more people have it and no more die. The difference is the mad insane reports ignore the fact that the fear makes most people inspected and counted even when they would not otherwise notice it. The ordinary flu is usually ignored and never counted.
All of this is politics and marketing. It does make the rich richer and poor become poorer.

Leonida Odongo
Apr 06
Apr 06

The contradictions are glaring .

Oluwatoyin Olabisi
Apr 06
Apr 06

I totally agree with you, the corona virus pandemic should nor be used to increase people,s suffering. That is why we need strong protection policies in Africa, I mean how can we achieve the Sustainable Development Goals if we cannot effectively deal with a pandemic in ameliorating the sufferings of the people. May God help us.
Thank you for sharing and lets hope for a very bright light at the end of the tunnel.
Please Follow back.