NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 19 – Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has ruled out the possibility of the government reviewing the curfew hours to accommodate a request from the Muslim faithful who are preparing for the holy month of Ramadan.
Kagwe said the Muslim faithful should have to contend with the situation and celebrate Ramadan under the stipulated guidelines issued by the government, including the strict adherence of the 7pm to 5am.
“As much as we are all religious and we would want to adhere to the rules, I think this one time we simply cannot afford to relax any rules whatsoever. If anything, we should be pushing the opposite direction and not backward,” he said on Saturday during a virtual meeting with the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on coronavirus.
He stressed that the outbreak of the virus in the country that has so far infected 262 people continues to present unique challenges and asked the Muslim faithful to be tolerant and continue observing them just like other Kenyans.
The virus had killed 12 people in Kenya by Saturday, with 60 having recovered and discharged from hospital.
“We all join up in celebrating and being with them (Muslims) during this period but the celebrations must be done in a manner that reflects the time and period that we are living in,” he said.
Muslim clerics and a section of leaders in the coast had asked the government to consider extending the curfew period from 7pm to 9pm to allow Iftar celebrations.
Christian faithful in an unprecedented reality were forced to mark the Easter festivities in small gatherings with millions of Catholics globally forced to follow the celebrations online.
The dusk-to-dawn curfew was ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta as part of measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus in the country.
The order was later reinforced by the cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties which have the highest cases.