• The operation was led by Baringo county commissioner Henry Wafula who fell short of ordering the shutdown of all local markets.
• On Monday the Star quoted the traders asking the government to provide them with cash stipends and relief food for their families before they close shop.
All rickety structures at the Kabarnet open-air market in Baringo Central were flattened on Tuesday in efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
The operation was led by Baringo county commissioner Henry Wafula who fell short of ordering the shutdown of local markets "because our people shall lack places to buy domestic items”.
The demolished structures were roofed with polythene paper.
On Monday the Star quoted the traders saying they are not ready for quarantine until the government provides them with alternatives like monetary stipends and relief food for their families.
Wafula urged the traders to maintain order and hygiene. “Let us strictly have one main gate where people can wash their hands as they walk in to buy goods.”
The traders did not resist the flattening of their structures.
Wafula was accompanied by Kabarnet town manager Pius Bolei, Baringo Central deputy commissioner Reuben Ratemo and Kabarnet OCPD Francis Gachoki.
Gachoki told the traders: “If you don’t have the right place to sell, go home. You don’t have any reason to cause congestion here.”
Wafula ordered the closure of Marigat, Mogotio and Barwessa open-air markets. He gave traders in better structures up to 5pm (Tuesday) to clean and disinfect their workplaces.
“We shall continue raiding all markets and bus parks across the county until everybody abides by the rules and regulations because we don’t want to lose anybody to this global virus called corona,” he said.
“Coronavirus is real and we don’t allow any congestion in these public selling places. The two-metre separation rule must be applied to the letter.”
He said the traders should not be crowding outside yet the county has unoccupied modern market stalls financed by the World Bank.
“Yes, we are not closing the entire markets but we are only urging our people to abide by the rules and maintain cleanliness. I don’t want to chase people with tear gas. I know people of Baringo are peaceful and law-abiding,” the administrator said.
The county has not had any case of Covid-19. “The two suspects identified last week tested negative and currently in self-quarantine.”
Bolei said the county has adequate disinfectants and will start formulating the town, including the market and bus terminus, today.
– mwaniki fm