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January 19, 2019

Frustrated Marakwet mango traders threaten to cut Eldoret water supply

Marakwet mango buyers chairman Nahashon Kauka speaks in Sangach, Marakwet East, January 12, 2018. /Stephen Rutto
Marakwet mango buyers chairman Nahashon Kauka speaks in Sangach, Marakwet East, January 12, 2018. /Stephen Rutto

Marakwet traders have threatened to cut water supply to Eldoret to protest Uasin Gishu county's destruction of mangoes worth Sh1.7 million.

The traders said they would disrupt supply to Eldoret town at Chebara dam, Marakwet West. The dam is the major supplier of water to the town and its environs.

Marakwet mango buyers chairman Nahashon Kauka said the traders were frustrated.

The county got rid of mangoes in eight lorries on Thursday yet the business people had paid levies, he said.

At a peace meeting in Endo on Friday, Kauka told Elgeyo Marakwet leaders that they would mobilise other traders to cut water supply if the county does not compensate them.

“We can’t take bank loans and sell our properties to do business only for our mangoes to be destroyed."

He added traders use insecure roads in Kerio Valley, where many bandit attacks have taken place, and that officers make matters worse by subjecting them to inhumane treatment.

“We will decide to stop working and cut water supply to make Eldoret dry. Uasin Gishu should know the water it uses come from Marakwet,” Kauka said.

The chairman accused Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandago of reneging on a pre-election pledge to allow Marakwet mango traders to sell their produce in Eldoret town.

Kauka noted it was unfair for Uasin Gishu to frustrate Elgeyo Marakwet traders, who feed Eldoret town through supply of fruits including mangoes and watermelons, as well as potatoes.

“Traders have receipts of payments to Uasin Ngishu county. Why are they being exploited? We are now forced to take our mangoes to Kakamega."

Marakwet East MP Bowen Kangogo asked Uasin Gishu to compensate the traders for the losses, noting the county frustrated fruit traders in 2014.

Elgeyo Marakwet governor Alex Tolgos promised to talk to Mandago on how to resolve the dispute.

Tolgos asked the traders to seek audience with Uasin Gishu authorities and negotiate a favourable business environment.

"I will speak with Mandago but I can’t promise you will be compensated. We agreed that a mango market will be established. I will follow up on the issue."

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