Clashes hurt businesses in Kakamega, Nandi

Fighting along the boundary of Nandi and Kakamega counties has adversely ruined businesses in the area, traders have said.

Livestock buyers from Western Kenya have kept away from Chepterit, one of the biggest animal markets in the region for fear of being attacked.

The hundreds of animals which are usually driven for sale in western Kenya have also not been spotted along Baraton-Kabiyet and Malava roads.

“We registered the lowest sale, especially in dairy cattle whose market has been people of western Kenya,” said Mathew Cheruiyot, a livestock trader in Chepterit on phone.

“We just received reports that all was not well in the far border and as a result, we have realised depressed business.”

Tension has been rising in the region after hundreds of attackers, allegedly from Nandi, stormed Kuvasali location in Kakamega, and torched 22 houses and more than 15 acres of sugar cane crop.

The attackers, who left two people injured, also destroyed banana crop and stole the produce.

The Kuvasali is located at the bounder between the Rift Valley and western regions.

Tension arising from the attacks has since spread to other areas, affecting business in Malava, Chepterwoi, Chepterit and Kakamega town.

Before the mayhem, traders from Kakamega regularly trekked to the Chepterit cattle auction to buy cows and goats while others crossed to Chepterwoi and Kabiyet villages in Nandi to sell pots and vegetables.

Their Rift Valley counterparts would cross over to sell milk, maize and other farm produce.

“Milk producers from the Nandi side have started making calls, asking if the situation has calmed down so that they can sell their produce,” Albert Mutonyi, 23, a businessman told the Business Daily last week. “It is evident that business dealings have been ruined by the clashes.”

Besides providing a ready market for their produce, farmers in western also sell bananas, sugarcane and arrow roots to their Rift neighbours.

Nathan Pili, 68, said the two communities have co-existed peacefully in the forty years he has lived in Kuvasali.

“We have been on good terms for decades until last month when enmity crept in. We usually exchange milk and bananas and our children even grazed cattle on the bordering hill,” said Mr Piri, whose six houses and seven acres of sugarcane were razed down in the arson attack.