Job losses and violence top list of Covid impact

Majority of Kenyans are worried about job losses and violence even as the coronavirus disease continues to ravage the country, according to a survey by Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (Creco).

The survey’s findings, released last week, show that Kenyans are more concerned with challenges associated with loss of jobs.

At least 33 per cent of Kenyans are worried that they may not have means to eke out a living, while 10 per cent are worried about gender-based violence. About 21 per cent of Kenyans are worried about domestic violence, according to the report.

Titled Monitoring Human Rights Violations during Covid-19 Pandemic in Kenya, Creco with support from Trocaire, documented and analysed human rights violations during Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the report done in 10 hotspot counties, there was an increase in teenage pregnancies, which respondents said was the third concern, scoring 21 per cent, and police brutality 10 per cent.

Violence against police officers and challenges around housing were least concerns for respondents, with two and three per cent score respectively.

The survey was carried out in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu, Kajiado, Busia, Machakos, Nakuru, Migori, Uasin Gishu and Kilifi counties.

The survey done between May and September sampled seven different profiles of respondents; youth, boda boda riders, teachers, persons above 65 years, chiefs, women and village elders, where 64 per cent were male and 36 per cent female.

Six categories of human rights violations were monitored with respect to how Covid-19 pandemic affected citizens. The categories were access to healthcare and water, discrimination, public participation, right to information, stigmatisation, social and economic rights.

The survey said the area most impacted by Covid-19 pandemic across the counties was social and economic rights of people at 37 per cent followed by stigmatisation at 17 per cent and discrimination at 13 per cent.

Access to water was of least concern to respondents, scoring four per cent.

Examples of the strain the pandemic has put on households include a case in Changamwe where a private school teacher hanged himself at his home after a disagreement with his wife. The teacher complained that the school management had not paid him since schools were closed due to Covid-19 pandemic.

In Mavoko, a house help was denied salary and locked up for asking for her pay for days. When she attempted to escape, she was caught and assaulted by the employer. In Kajiado, an incident was reported about four girls who were raped by their brother.

Majority of the respondents, amounting to 70 per cent said they were sufficiently informed about Covid-19, its prevention and methods of transmission while 30 per cent said they were not.

Another 56 per cent of the respondents said they were not well informed about government measures to curb the disease while 44 per cent felt sufficiently informed.

Others, accounting for 78 per cent, said they were not aware of any public participation by either county or national government on Covid-19 mitigation.

Majority of the respondents, accounting for 92 per cent indicated they did not know of any public participation activity around budgeting processes for Covid-19 spending by either the national or county governments.

Joshua Changwony of Creco urged government to improve enforcement of instituted measures.

[The writer is a 2019/2020 Bertha Fellow]

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