The government has made clear its position on Kenyan nationals currently in other countries stating that it will not evacuate them.
The pronouncement follows Health CS Mutahi Kagwe’s Sunday directive that Kenya would officially bar all international passenger flights on Wednesday, March 25.
This would allow foreign nationals wishing to exit the country a three-day window to leave while similarly allowing Kenyans outside the nation to return.
Kenyans.co.ke spoke to Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna who clarified what the directive means for Kenyans wishing to return from countries that have already closed their borders or are on lockdown.
These include Rwanda which announced a two-week lockdown on Saturday, March 22 as well as Uganda which effected the closure of its borders on Sunday, March 23.
This effectively means that Kenyans in those countries can not leave, and will miss out on their government’s window of return.
Oguna clarified that the government has no intention of evacuating any Kenyan nationals who find themselves stranded in a foreign country.
“We will not send a vehicle or an aeroplane to evacuate our nationals wherever they are,” Oguna stated.
He noted that it was in a country’s power to decide to evacuate its citizens but the Kenyan policy is not aligned to evacuation. Kenyans in foreign nations, therefore, have no alternative but to quarantine where they are based.
“The policy is that they will quarantine wherever they are obeying the laws and regulations enforced in that country as far as Covid-19 is concerned,” stated Oguna.
He further clarified that it was an individual’s onus to find their way back to the country within the set-out period, after which they would not be allowed to return.
“Any Kenyan wherever they are who is coming back must come back by Wednesday midnight,” reiterated the spokesperson.
“If they cannot come back within that period then they should remain wherever they are and obey those country’s regulations,” he added.
Oguna explained that it was an elected responsibility of each country to decide whether or not to evacuate its citizens.
“If we say no one going out or coming in then it is the responsibility of those countries to pick their citizens if they want to,” noted Oguna.
He reiterated that Kenya has no plans to take up such action and those who find themselves in other countries where the closure of borders had taken effect should make do where they were.
“We are not contemplating evacuating our citizens,” Oguna finalized, qualifying however that, “It depends on the situation. But as of now, for Kenyans who are in Uganda and Uganda has these restrictions across the border, we will not evacuate them. It’s only for a while anyway they can stay there.”