Take the threats on security seriously

Thursday, September 30th, 2021 00:00 | By
Local and international travellers wait for clearance at JKIA in Nairobi early this year. Photo/File

In the last four month, hordes of Pakistani nationals have flooded Nairobi streets. They are friendly, social and largely mind their own businesses.

They walk in groups of about 10, window shopping or enjoying the Nairobi sunshine.

They would pass for typical Nairobians save for the fact that they walk in groups and have similar sartorial sense.

The curiosity they have raised started off as rumours that Afghani refugees had landed in the capital, only that they were being accommodated in hotels instead of camps.

A communication from the government on Wednesday, however, opened the lid.

The men are from Pakistan, transiting through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Saudi Arabia and other destinations and that they were to quarantine, before they can embark on the rest of their journey.

However, because they had broken the health protocols and left the quarantine centre, as a result the government- through the Interior Principal Secretary - has ordered an immediate crackdown of foreigners in the country illegally and that it will restrict the number of those transiting through JKIA to other destinations.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs went a step further and said the Pakistanis, who previously did not need a visa to transit through the country, will be required to process one. And anyone who does not get the right papers will be turned away.

The government claims the visitors have breached the Covid-19 protocols and are a threat to Kenyans.

But this is after Kenyans had raised concerns about the visitor. To contract Covid-19 it does not require one to be around the virus for ages.

If the government was serious about the safety of Kenyans it should have put in place measures to avoid such interactions.

That the government has called for a crackdown means there could be others who could have gotten into the country illegally and the security officers do not have their address.

The reactive nature of the security forces point to a serious lapse in the country’s response to such threats.

Whereas the amiable Pakistani may not pose a threat, the cavalier manner in which the government handled the situation is worrying.

If the magnitude of the threat is as big as being portrayed then the agencies should have pre-empted it early enough and not waited for months when many people were getting used to their company to come down hard on them. 

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