The Government has commenced enforcement of a ban on hawking of food items to motorists and passengers on Highways in Central Kenya Region in a bid to stop the spread of the deadly Coronavirus.
The Regional Security Team led by the Central Regional Commissioner (RC), Wilfred Nyagwanga on Monday, issued ban on hawking of drinks, fruits and other forms of food items on all major highways in the area.
Nyagwanga directed that vendors will only be allowed to operate from their assigned roadside stalls, where motorists and other travelers in need of their goods will go for them.
While on a tour of various busy markets in the region, including Kibirigwi, Sagana , Mwea in Kiriyaga County and Stage Ya Kwa Samaki at the boarder of Kirinyaga and Murang’a Counties, the RC warned that those who will defy the Vacate Order will be arrested and prosecuted.
He noted with concern that the vendors have been trading without maintaining proper hygiene measures such as washing of hands with soap or using sanitizers and providing the same to their customers.
Vendors at Kibirigwi are popular for selling bananas, fruits and vegetables to motorists and passengers, while those at Stage Ya Kwa Samaki are known for fried fish and ugali while Mwea market is synonymous with tomatoes.
The whole length of the highway from the region to Nairobi City is dominated by hawkers who sell fruits, water and sweets among other merchandise to motorists held up in traffic jams or near bumps.
The hawkers rush towards vehicles caught up in such snarl-up or when they slowdown on approaching bumps erected near the markets.
“We have visited the areas and realized that some hawkers have not changed habit. They are still selling their wares to motorists and passengers on the road,” said Nyagwanga.
“This is despite our directives that hawkers should not sell their goods to motorists and passengers on the roadsides,” he said.
He ordered that henceforth motorists and passengers willing to make purchases of the goods will be required to disembark walk out to their vendor of choice and sanitize their hands before transacting business.
Nyagwanga said the measure is aimed at curbing importation of the disease and break the chain of its transmission.
“Vehicles using the busy highways may be ferrying people from neighbouring countries who may be infected with the Coronavirus,” noted the Regional Boss.
He said security officials among them the National Government Administrative Officials and Kenya Police Service personnel will be patrolling the area to ensure everyone adheres to the laid down guidelines and directives.
“We have put enough measures in place as well as enough security officials on the ground to enforce the ban,” Nyagwanga said.
The RC urged the hawkers to be their brother’s and sister’s keeper and warn that anyone found hawking items to the passing motorists and passengers would be dealt with according to the law.
The Regional Police Commander, Angelus Karuru told the hawkers that the only remedy to win the war against Covid-19 is by taking seriously all directives by the government.
Meanwhile, the government has also banned hawking of goods along Nyeri town streets among them Gakere and Kamukunji.
By Samuel Waititu/Beth Ndirangu