It is business as usual for daring Londiani roadside traders

Londiani roadside traders back to their businesses a day after an accident that claimed 53 lives. [Courtesy Facebook]

Roadside traders at the Londiani junction where 53 people were recently killed in an accident on Monday continued with their businesses as usual.

With the overturned trailer lying nearby, serving as a chilling reminder of Friday's accident, nothing much has changed for the traders.

Jane Mutai, a potato seller who has operated in this area for the past 12 years, expressed her trust in God.

“While another accident may occur, I face the harsh reality of hunger if I don’t persevere,” she said.

As the sole breadwinner for her family, the mother of eight children from Tegunot in Kipkelion East constituency said she relies on her business to make ends meet.

Mutai, however, lamented that fewer motorists stop to buy from them since the accident.

“The potato sales, used to generate over Sh1,000 in profit, but it has plummeted to a mere Sh100 over the past four days,” said Mutai.

The impact of the tragedy is also being felt by boda-boda operators.

Sammy Bett, the chairman of Kipkelion East Boda-Boda, who lost four members in the incident, argued that despite the vivid memory of the accident, economic hardships compel them to continue working as if nothing happened.

“The riders are often the sole providers for their families and are left with no choice but to endure the risks posed by their occupation,” he said.

Bett highlighted the challenges faced by boda-boda riders in the current economic climate.

"It has become a pipe dream for a boda-boda rider to make anything beyond Sh1,000, especially at this moment in time when fuel prices have shot up," he said.

Additionally, Bett expressed concern over the absence of an alternative location for the operators to conduct their business.

Since the incident, stakeholders have yet to convene and identify a new operating site, leaving the boda-boda operators to ply their trade on the road itself.

"There are no bus termini in Londiani; all the business has to be conducted right on the road," he said.

Kericho Governor Erick Mutai admitted the accident occurred before his administration could secure land to put up a market.

The governor revealed plans to negotiate with one of the landowners adjacent to the junction to purchase the land and build a market.

“The traders will then cease selling by the roadside.”