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Covid-19: Joggers including minors arrested in Kisumu - VIDEO

Friday May 29 2020
By RUSHDIE OUDIA

Dozens of joggers were on Friday arrested and charged in a Kisumu court for violating social distancing rules.

Some joggers were arrested on the streets of Milimani Estate and others were rounded up in Tom Mboya Estate on Friday morning.

The accused included 29 adults and 9 children aged between eight and 17 years.

They came before court dressed in their fitness training gear where they were charged with contravention of provision control of suppression of Covid-19 directives issued by the Cabinet Secretary of Health pursuant to Section 36 as read with section 164 of public health Act.

Prosecutor Sylvester Thuo said the joggers were arrested after they were found exercising in crowds in the morning.

The suspects appeared in court wearing face masks. Mr Thuo said the offence was to exercise in groups which was risky in the spread of Covid-19.

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Senior Principal Magistrate Robinson Ondieki found all the adults guilty of not keeping social distance of 1.5 metre apart while doing physical exercises and that they contravened government directives on prevention and control of Covid-19.

The minors were discharged.

“A fine of Sh1, 000 is the minimum but should they breach directives again tougher fines and sentences may be leveled against them,” said Mr Ondieki.

 Following the ruling, James Aggrey Mwamu, an advocate, said the Covid-19 pandemic has not suspended people’s constitutional rights.

“There is need to define this social distancing better because it doesn’t make sense for police to arrest innocent people who are jogging and bundle them up in a police car and cells where they could even be exposed more to the virus,” said Mr Mwamu, who is the former President of the East Africa Law Society.

He added that the police should first warn and take the members of the public through the government directives instead of taking far reaching measures.

“Courts and police cells are currently over stretched and such cases take too much time for courts. The police should exercise restraint in the manner they enforce these directives,” said Mr Mwamu.

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