Community leaders in Garissa now want the County Government to stop the renewal of business licenses for small-scale traders until the Coronavirus disease is contained.
According to the Luo Community Leader, Jacob Olweny, small scale traders are going through tough times since the new guidelines to contain the spread of the Coronavirus came into effect.
Olweny who is also a Garissa based businessman said that the fate of many businesses hangs in the balance as the future looks blink.
“We can’t predict the future of our business as we speak. Many of our customers have lost their source of livelihood and their purchasing power is at its lowest,” Olweny said.
“I want to call on Governor Ali Korane, to personally take up this matter and direct his officers to stop renewal of business licenses until the situation stabilizes,” he added.
He appealed to Garissa town residents to adhere to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health, including keeping social distance, sanitizing, washing hands with soap and running water among others precautions to contain the spread of the deadly disease.
“We should stop ignoring these directives because it’s for our own good. These directives are not in any way meant to punish Kenyans but to avoid a disaster as has been witnessed in the other countries of the world,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by his Kamba Community Counterpart, Kitheka Mwenda, who said that as leaders, they will continue educating their communities on the need to follow and respect government’s directives.
Kitheka also asked Governor Korane to ensure that all communities in Garissa town receive equal treatment when foodstuffs and other benefits will be distributed to the vulnerable persons who have lost their livelihoods.
Bernard Katana, a badoboda operator said Garissa is among the counties listed as high risk and, with four cases having been confirmed in Mandera county as at yesterday, the residents should be extra vigilant.
Katana said that two people who travelled from Kilifi passed through Garissa town and added that the way the virus is passed on, there was high likelihood that they might have infected those they came in close contact with.
“Although Garissa has not reported any case so far, we must remain alert and ensure that we take the necessary precautions,” he said.
He urged his fellow bodaboda operators to wear facemasks together with their passengers as directed by the government as one way of avoiding spreading the virus.
Katana called on the County Government to supply bodaboda operators with free facemasks as one way of cushioning their business.
By Jacob Songok