• The cost goes up to Sh100 per jerrycan when there is a scarcity in town so the vendors source water from a nearby river.
• Residents say the shortage is frequent and the vendors make thousands of shillings per day, which they allegedly use to lure young boys.
A persistent water shortage in Mwingi has led to a windfall for some women vendors, and residents are accusing them of luring young men for sex.
A 20-litre jerrycan of water costs Sh2 from a kiosk in the town, but the vendors sell for Sh10 when supply is constant.
The cost goes up to Sh100 per jerrycan when there is a scarcity in town so the vendors source water from a nearby river.
Residents say the shortage is frequent and the vendors make thousands of shillings per day, which they allegedly use to lure young boys.
Mwingi businessman Maliti Mengi asked local administrators to launch a crackdown so all students out of school go back.
"Some of the victims are as young as schoolgoing children; we urge chiefs to ensure they all go back to school," Mengi said.
Mengi blamed the acts on the high cost of living, unemployment, and poverty levels.
Kalunda Mbiti said it was disturbing that grown-up women were destroying the lives of youngsters.
"As a parent, it is very heartbreaking seeing young boys being enticed by old women and end up living together and destroying their future," Mbiti said.
Katiwa Nzoka said youths like him risk infection with deadly viruses, adding that poverty and lack of jobs have pushed them to the edge.
"We urge the government to step in and help us with jobs so that we can save ourselves from the looming calamities of heath threats,” he said.
Kiambere Mwingi Water and Sanitation Company officials said an electric fault at Kiambere dam is being fixed by Kenya Power. Water supply will resume when the fault is corrected.
(edited by o. owino)