• The hawkers have been trading without water, soap or sanitisers to clean their hands and those of their customers.
• Security officials will be patrolling the areas to ensure the directive is adhered to.
The government is enforcing the ban on hawking on highways in Central to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
On Tuesday, regional security officers led by Central regional commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga visited shopping centres in Kirinyaga and Murang’a counties on the Nyeri-Nairobi highway and warned traders against hawking on the road.
Nyagwanga and his team made stopovers in Kibirigwi, Sagana and Mwea in Kiriyaga county and Kwa Samaki at the border of Kirinyaga and Murang’a counties.
The team also spoke to traders on the Kirinyaga-Embu highway in Kirinyaga county.
Nyagwanga warned traders that they would be arrested and prosecuted under the Public Health Act if found selling goods to motorists and passengers on the roads.
The hawkers, Nyagwanga said, have been trading without water, soap or sanitisers to clean their hands and those of their customers.
They also do not observe social distancing.
Hawkers in Kibirigwi are popular with selling bananas, fruits and vegetables to motorists and passengers, those at Kwa Samaki are popular with selling fish, while those at P I mostly sell tomatoes.
Hawkers rush towards vehicles as they slow down while approaching bumps erected near shopping centres.
“We have visited the areas and realised that some hawkers have not changed. They are still selling their wares to motorists and passengers,” Nyagwanga said.
“This is despite our directives that hawkers should not sell their goods to motorists and passengers on the road.”
He directed all hawkers to sell their goods from stalls across the road with water soap or sanitisers.
Motorists and passengers willing to buy the goods should walk out of the vehicles, sanitize their hands before transacting business with the hawkers, he added.
Vehicles using busy highways, he said, may be ferrying people from neighbouring countries and who may be infected with the coronavirus.
He said security officials, who will include the National Government Administrative Officials and Kenya Police Service personnel, will be patrolling the area to ensure everyone adheres to the directives.
“We have put enough measures in place, and we have also talked to the traders and agreed that they will not trade on the roads,” he said.
Security officials will mostly target Kirinyaga and Murang’a counties.
He said security officials are on the ground to enforce the ban in Makuyu, Murang’a county, where traders sell pineapples on the Thika Superhighway.
The highway is also dominated by hawkers who sell water and sweets to motorists trapped in traffic jams.
Nyagwanga told the hawkers to be their brothers' and sisters' keepers and warned anyone seen hawking items to passing motorists and passengers.
Regional police commander Angelus Karuru told the hawkers that the only way to win the war against Covid-19 is by taking seriously all directives by the government.
In Nyeri county, the government has also banned hawking of goods along the town streets, among them Gakere and Kamukunji.
Edited by A. Ndung'u