Leaders and residents in Lamu county on Monday criticised the move by the inspector general of police David Kimaiyo, to extend for another month, the dawn-to-dusk curfew he imposed in the area, saying it would hurt the local economy further and cripple the annual Lamu cultural festival.
Traders and tourism stakeholders said the curfew which was extended for the second time to October 21, would render it impossible to prepare for the cultural festivals due in November.
“We need to be preparing for the Lamu cultural festival. We obviously are not going to do so with the curfew in place and that means the festival which is a huge income fetcher for the county, will be a flop,” Ghalib Alwy, Lamu Tourism Association(LTA) chair, said.
Locals who spoke to Baraka FM said the prolonged curfew was bad for business, tourism and fishing industries in the county, which they said were already dead despite their being the county’s backbone.
Alwy argued that the criteria used to extend the curfew should have considered the economic impact of the entire exercise on the county, and effected only in areas that were still fragile and prone to insecurity.
“Life has to move on. We need to rebuild this county and we cannot do that if the curfew is forever being extended,” Alwy said.
He said the tourism sector in the region had declined in performance by near 90 percent, underscoring the urgent need to revive it.
“Poverty is on its rise now. Tourists are scared of coming here. Businesses are dying daily not to mention the economy of the county.”
Kimaiyo declared the curfew in Lamu in July after a spate of deadly attacks that left at least 90 people dead, property destroyed, and thousands forced to flee their homes.
The attacks were blamed on both the al shabaab militant group and local political networks.