KAM Statement On The Brutalization Of Essential Goods Producers During Curfew

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) notes with concern the harassment and brutalization, by some law enforcement officers, of essential service providers, in the enforcement of the Curfew period directive issued by His Excellency the President.

On 25th March 2020, whilst announcing the daily curfew as one of the measures to protect citizens, The President provided a list of essential service providers allowed to operate during the curfew period to ensure that Kenyans continue to access food and basic products.

In order to do this effectively and within the required law, KAM along with our partners KEPSA, met with the Inspector General of Police, as well as the COVID-19 Multi-Agency Planning Team yesterday (27th March 2020), to agree on protocols which would guide both law enforcers and producers to avoid disruption of production. The mutual agreement in this meeting was that;

  • Production shifts: Where possible Manufacturers should organize production shifts such that there is little or no worker movement during the curfew period. Should this be impossible, the manufacturer must ensure that the workers carry proper company identification documents to travel during the mandated curfew period.
  • Identification of employees: All employees to be issued with staff identification documents (IDs) which cannot be forged. This shall enable easy identification and can be complemented by uniforms (where applicable).
  • Vehicles identification: To identify vehicles belonging to companies that provide essential services, drivers and turn boys should produce identification cards/letters from their employer. Further mechanisms to identify vehicles travelling during the curfew period are being developed.

In light of the above, it is disconcerting that the Association has received distressed calls from many businesses stating harassment and brutalization of their suppliers and employees by law enforcement agencies.

Whereas law enforcement officers have a duty to enforce the curfew for the protection of all citizens, they must also adhere to the rule of law and take into consideration exemptions provided in undertaking their mandate.

This harassment and brutality by law enforcement officers on essential service producers goes against the Government’s efforts to ensure that there is continued supply of food and basic products to all Kenyans at this critical time. Many businesses are now hesitant to continue their operations as directed, and this could cause supply chain disruptions and shortages.

As an Association we would like to urgently appeal to the National Security Advisory Council and Law Enforcement Agencies to work together with Essential Service Providers, under the protocols and guidelines agreed upon for the sake of getting our country through this difficult period.

We must ensure that the rule of law prevails; this means that during this crisis, we look to minimize panic and the collective sense of disorientation, and provide, as much as we can safety and a sense of stability.  We shall continue to work closely with the Government to develop more collaborative frameworks to deliver essentials to the people of Kenya, as this situation is highly dynamic and calls for all us to be adoptive and quick in our approach.

We remain committed to the Health, Safety and Security of all Kenyans and to providing solutions to combat the Global Pandemic.

Signed,

Sachen Gudka,

CHAIRMAN

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