Police have banned hawking along the Nakuru-Eldoret Highway following the tragic death of a female trader at Sachang’wan and subsequent injuring of another as they were selling foodstuffs to motorists.
Molo OCPD Daniel Kamanza has declared war on the trade saying that any trader found conducting any trade on the highway between Sachang’wan and Total trading centres will be arrested and charged in court.
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“We have with immediate effect banned hawking along the highway. Anyone who will be found in contravention to this shall be arrested and arraigned in court for endangering their lives, an offence that carries up to ten years imprisonment sentence,” said Mr Kamanza.
20 year old Mercy Chepkirui died on the spot last week after she was ran over by a trailer that dismembered her body as she was selling sugarcane to another motorist who had parked by the road.
The incident led to the traders and other residents in the area to block the road using logs for over four hours accusing drivers along the route of careless driving forcing officers from the nearby GSU camp to intervene.
A second unidentified man was also seriously injured at Migaa a day later in similar circumstances and was rushed to Molo Level Four Hospital for treatment.
The OCPD has however dismissed them saying that their activities were illegal and their accusations are baseless since the concerned authorities had not allowed the business at the spots.
“The traders have no relevant permits from the county government and the highways authority to conduct business along the road. Their case to protest against the drivers does not hold water,” said Kamanza.
Rongai OCPD Japheth Kioko who is also in charge of an area through which a section of the highway runs through echoed the sentiments saying that they have been issuing warnings to the traders but have been defying them.
“This is a matter that affects most parts where the highway passes through. They have been ignoring our advice on defense that it is their only source of income. It is time we take the fight to the next level,” said Mr Kioko.
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A similar problem has been facing police officers in Gilgil with area OCPD Cera Koki saying that the traders have been playing hide and seek games with her officers who have outlawed the business.
“For the past two years we have had a team that has been monitoring the highway especially at the weighbridge. The traders take off when they spot the police officers and surface back once they leave,” said Ms Koki.
James Karani who has been selling water at the weigh bridge since 2014 termed the new measures as too hard on the traders as it has been their only source of income.
“We don’t dispute the fact that most of us risk our lives but this is the only way for us to do business. Most drivers and travelers don’t prefer to walk out of their vehicles. They buy as the vehicles continue moving,” said Karani.
Jane Cherotich who sells sugar cane at Migaa said that the new directive is a blow to her and her family as it is through the business that she gets food for them.
“Am a single mother of two and currently have no other job. Unless I get an alternative source of income my family is likely to go hungry,” said Ms Cherotich.