On Friday night, the National Police Service was on the spot, in a number of regions in Kenya as its officers unleashed their wrath on citizens on day one of the dusk-to-dawn curfew declared by President Uhuru on Wednesday.
The 10-hour daily restriction running between 7pm and 5am took effect on Friday and is part of the government’s measures to combat the spread of coronavirus.
While a majority of Kenyans went home early to beat the 7pm cutoff, many found themselves in trouble with police after they were found outside beyond the stipulated time.
While the rod was not spared by most officers across the country while enforcing the curfew, a senior officer from Baringo used a different approach. Baringo Central Administration Police Commander Ibrahim Abachilla did not use a whip to ensure people were not on the streets.
He took advantage of the opportunity to educate the residents on the importance of handwashing. Armed with a sanitiser and a swagger stick, Abachilla assembled motorists and travellers caught up in the curfew. He talked to them about the government’s directives and the need to obey them. Travellers had to alight from their vehicles, sanitise their hands and talk about keeping safe from the coronavirus. “Get to your homes and stay inside. Don’t be late again as the government has announced a curfew.”
Photos and videos of police clobbering members of the public who failed to arrive home before 7pm emerged sparking uproar among Kenyans on social media.
But amid all the chaos, Baringo central AP commandant Mr Ibrahim Abachilla became a darling to many after he was filmed assembling those who were caught past curfew and instead of clobbering them, he decided to instead sensitise them about the killer virus before sanitising their hands and allowing them to go home.
His humane side did not go unnoticed as Kenyans on social media praised him for what he was doing with a majority calling his counterparts to emulate him.
Here are a few views from Kenyans:
Ohhhh I have cried. Imagine just a little gentleness goes a long way. Everybody is struggling. We shall get there
— Anne Mawathe (@Mawathe) March 28, 2020
Now this is a good leader. The country isnt at war with the citizens, its a war against a disease not the people. The other idiots may have just made things worse. Hopefully this is emulated across the country. Kudos to this commander.
— Anthony Burton Modu (@ModuAnthony) March 28, 2020
I believe there is still some humanity left in some police officers. This is one of them and represents the officers who will not betray his fellow countrymen. However, those police brutality apologists who have seen to the assault of Kenyans, we shall not forget #CurfewKenya
— MluhyaMteso (@RevoltCitizen) March 27, 2020
This is the only police officer we have seen until now
— Wise Fool (@WiseFool4) March 28, 2020
Way to go not brutality, I salute the officer for his actions @NPSOfficial_KE
— BEYOND COVID-19 (@SolomonMari) March 28, 2020
Kudos. He understands the essence of assisting Mwananchi control the spread of Covid-19 among citizens. If all of them had such an attitude, we can be safe as a country from the spread of such an infectious disease.
— Joram Agwata (@joramag) March 28, 2020
?? and this is what police SERVICE should look like. This is not a war between the state and its people, force is therefore counterproductive. Public education accompanied by provision of safety nets for the vulnerable is what is needed to effect #CurfewinKenya
— Martha Bande (@afandibande) March 28, 2020
This is what we call utumishi kwa wrote, right from the script. cudos mjeshi???
— Njosh Githinji (@NjoshGithinji) March 28, 2020
This police officer is civilised and Focused the other hooligans should try to emulate him#PoliceBrutality
— zakaria mohamed (@zakaria8358) March 27, 2020
This is commendable. Other enforcement officers, please emulate this officer. Quite civil. Make him a trainer in Kiganjo.
— Angirajared62@gmail.com (@angirajared62) March 28, 2020