In Summary
  • The county’s emergency response team on Covid-19 closed the market for a period of 30 days.
  • Some of the traders said this is a move aimed at denying them their daily bread.
  • Deputy Director of Traffic Ibrahim Basafar said action will be taken.

Defiant traders on Monday morning forced their way into Mombasa’s Kongowea market to deliver fresh farm produce despite its closure a fortnight ago.

The traders, both wholesalers and retailers, caused commotion Monday morning at Buxton junction after some of their trucks carrying fresh produce were blocked by Mombasa County inspectorate officers.

On March 20, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho ordered the market closed for wholesalers and instead set up satellite open air markets in Tononoka and Likoni in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the region.

CLOSED FOR 30 DAYS

The county’s emergency response team on Covid-19 announced the closure of Kongowea market for a period of 30 days.

The governor also waived extra charges for traders crossing to the Likoni open air market. This was aimed at increasing access to the market and to minimise the number of people crossing to Kongowea to buy farm produce.

However, some of the traders said this move was aimed at denying them their daily bread since they had established clients at the Kongowea market.

On Monday, the traders who became unruly directed trucks carrying vegetables, sukumawiki, onions and potatoes from Buxton to Nyali Bridge despite police presence.

DEFIANT

“Hakuna corona. Mwatushutua shutua hapa kwamba corona corona, watoto wetu watalala njaa?” (There’s no coronavirus. You are scaring us about coronavirus; do you want our children to sleep hungry?) said one of the retailers.

The more than 100 traders remained defiant and unmoved as police fired in the air in a bid to disperse them as they held twigs chanting in protest.

Mombasa County Deputy Director of Traffic Ibrahim Basafar told the Nation that it was very unfortunate that the traders were risking the lives of many with the careless act when the country is busy trying to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

“We need personal responsibility at this point in time. I am aware there was commotion at Buxton and we cleared the traffic for ease of movement but it is unfortunate that they still want to go and crowd at the market. The law will deal with them,” Mr Basafar said.