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KeNHA demolishes stalls in Nyeri

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By IRENE MUGO
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A road agency has demolished stalls and billboards in Nyeri town in a dawn exercise on Thursday that caught many traders and companies unaware.

The Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) descended on billboards and stalls built on road reserves to clear way for expansion of the Nyeri-Nairobi highway.

The traders said they had tried negotiating with the officials of the road authority for an extension arguing they have consistently paid the necessary dues to the county government.

But their pleas fell on deaf ears as their structures were felled before dawn.

“We had been told to move our stalls and they had been marked for demolition but they did not tell us when they will start pulling down the structures,” said Ms Miriam Wangechi, a trader.

The traders accused KeNHA of failing to give them enough time to move their property.

The trader further extended her disappointment to the county government for charging them levy only for their businesses to be demolished.

“I have paid Sh7, 000 to the county government for a license for this business but they took the fee without fail knowingly the building was on a road reserve ,” lamented Ms Wangechi.

The trader said she failed to move her goods from the kiosk because she did not have enough space that would accommodate her entire stock.

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Commodities she trades in were strewn by the road as officers from the road authority embarked on the stalls.

Other traders affected include those selling second hand clothes and groceries.

However, infrastructure executive Muthui Kariuki said the county did not take part in the demolition neither did they  authorize illegal construction of business premises by the road side.

“It is unfortunate because some of these people have never paid a cent to the county government and a majority of these structures are mounted at night,” he said on phone.

Companies that had advertised along the highway towed their structures using motorbikes and pick-ups to their respective premises.

Efforts to reach KeNHA Central regional manager Francis Kimata were futile as his phone was not going through.



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Uganda pursues truckers who escaped after positive tests

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DAILY MONITOR

By DAILY MONITOR
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Uganda’s Ministry of Health says it has intensified the search for contacts of the seven truck drivers with Covid-19 who were found in Ndeeba, a city suburb, on Saturday night.

The National Covid-19 Response Incident Commander Ateka Kagirita told Daily Monitor Monday that the truck drivers had escaped into the community after finding out their status.

Dr Kagirita said the truckers are among the 25 drivers who previously disappeared into the community after they tested positive at Elegu and Malaba border posts.

“The 24-hour operation is ongoing to hunt down all the truck drivers who escaped into the community after testing positive. We are working day and night to get who they got into contact with, establish where they slept to ensure there is no positive case in the community,” he said.

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Asked whether any action will be taken against the drivers for disappearing into the communities, aware that they could spread the disease, Dr Kagirita said he would give details later.

The Uganda Professional Drivers Network (UPDN) revealed that the Saturday night development, which they attributed to their intervention to help the government to come up with a more comprehensive plan to manage the truck drivers.

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UPDN Executive Director Ndugu Omogo said the seven are Ugandan, Kenyan and Tanzanian nationals.

“Some of them have been in the community for more than a week. Many of them ran away because there is no existing case management system. Many of them think the disease doesn’t exist and that the government just wants to steal money,” he said.

Mr Omogo explained that the drivers believe the disease is a hoax because they have not been adequately sensitised about it.

He added that many of them run away because they are freelance drivers who do not have contracts with the truck owners and when they are arrested and quarantined for 14 days, they are certain of losing jobs.

“100 per cent of the drivers who have tested positive are freelance. They do not have jobs. The only way they get money is when they return the trucks. Nobody accepts them in the community when they test positive,” he said.

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Kenya: Wrong Contact Details Hurt Efforts to Trace Suspected Cases

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Kenyans are on the spot for providing wrong contacts during Covid-19 testing, hampering efforts to trace suspected cases.

During a press conference Sunday, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said the trend is endangering lives.

“Once the results are out, such individuals become unavailable. This is serious considering some of them have tested positive and we are unable to trace them,” he said.

Dr Aman called on those who are being tested to provide the correct information. He said a mobile laboratory is being set up in Namanga for truck drivers.

“We are hoping the turnaround time is going to be reduced,” Dr Aman said, adding that the government had established holding facilities for truckers as they wait for their results.

He said the Health ministry is collaborating with county commissioners to ensure truckers do not mingle with the community, to reduce the rate of virus transmission.

Dr Aman reiterated that the government will meet costs of treatment and quarantine. “It is a concern for the people because most shy away when they hear that costs are their own,” he said.

OBEY GUIDELINES

The CAS warned Kenyans who are not adhering to guidelines, saying containment measures can only be eased depending on their behaviour.

“I can assure you, just like the President said yesterday, the partial lockdown measures would not go on longer than necessary, and will be reviewed if Kenyans follow the containment measures in order to reduce the number of infections,” he said.