Maralal town in Samburu County is experiencing an acute shortage of irish potatoes as the commodity’s price shoot up.
A spot check at Maralal market revealed that the commodity’s price hiked from Sh3500 to Sh6800 per bag in just few months, making it hard for traders to sustain their businesses as usual.
Hoteliers have also been forced to hike food prices.
A plate of chips that was going for Sh50 is now being sold at Sh80, while the same has hiked to Sh150 from Sh100 in some eateries.
“Buying potatoes at Sh6800 per bag and we used to sell chips at Sh50 when the same commodity was selling at Sh3500 what do you expect?” pondered Joyce Kawira.
She added that she had to increase price of meals that are served with food prepared using potatoes to cater for the extra expenses.
However, business community have attributed an increase on the commodity’s price to an increased transportation cost following government’s decision to tax petroleum products at eight per cent
“The commodity’s price has increased due to high cost of living, everybody is talking about increased motor vehicle’s fuel prices, and going with the fact that here in Samburu we don’t grow any crop, we rely on food crops from other,” said Janeffer Wanja.
Speaking on Saturday Wanja added that acute shortage in supply of the commodity has been caused by low production in the source areas.
“Farmers explain there was a prolonged rainy season which is not favorable to Irish potatoes and there was a reduced yield leading to the shortage and increased prices,” she explained.
However, a number of traders dealing in buying and selling of the commodity have abandoned their businesses as they complain of losses.
“We are unable to sell Irish potatoes because they have become too expensive, we are buying a bag of the commodity at Sh6800 of which it is not easy to sell it in smaller quantities like Sh800 per bucket,” Mama Charity, a trader at Maralal market said.
Consumers said that they are now buying the commodity, which has become rare in the market, at unimaginable prices.
“I used to buy a kilo of potatoes at Sh30 recently, i was shocked to buy a two kilogram tin at Sh250 yesterday,” said Christine Wangare.
A police officer was stabbed and severely injured during a fight inside a bar in Maralal town.
The officer was having a drink in a local pub on Monday evening when a fight ensued between him and other revelers.
It is not clear what led to the aggression.
Daniel Sciuto, a surgeon at Samburu county referral hospital, said the officer has a deep cut and was injured in his liver and diaphragm.
“He was brought here while unconscious and was bleeding heavily, his blood pressure was very low,” said Sciuto.
Sciuto said the officer has been referred to Wamba mission hospital in Samburu East subcounty for blood transfusion.
Area police commander Alfred Agengo said the officer is attached at Maralal police station.
“We don’t want to go into more details. We know the officer and we are still investigating,” Agengo told journalists at his office in Maralal town on Monday evening.
Police in Maralal, Samburu County, are investigating an incident in which a human skull was found in Maralal town.
The skull was found in a trench behind Maralal market by children who were playing.
Maralal town nyumba kumi initiative chairman, Solomon Wanyeki said that this was a strange case which has never been witnessed in Maralal town before.
“The last time we saw a human head without it’s body was twenty years ago during a zoo, this is terrible,” said Wanyeki.
Kuled Mohammed, a resident, noted that dead bodies are usually buried so its quite strange for a human skull to be found in a central business centre.
However, business people operating in the market condemned the incident denying allegations that it is witchcraft belonging to one of them.
“I have operated a cloth business in this market for years now, we have never heard of witchcraft in this town,” said Mercy Cheroitich.
Cheroitich rubished allegations that the skull might have been kept in the trench as witchcraft tool of attracting customers.
She noted that the trench is usually cleaned daily by those operating in the market.
The police removed the skull to a unknown place as investigations commence.
A crisis in the education sector is looming in Samburu after the Ministry of Higher Education issued a closure notice of Laikipia University, Maralal campus.
The Commission of University Education is said to have issued a closure notice three months ago which was to expire by the end of August this year, after an inspection of the facility on the 9th of January 2016.
It is said that the commission gave the order of upgrade of the facility to required standards within a three month deadline that has since not been met due to lack of enough resources and the short time frame they were given.
The action has now sent students into a state of panic with them being unsure of their future at the institution, as some are set to graduate this year, with many others winding up their courses.
The County Executive in charge of education, Samburu County Peter Lolmodooni, has termed the situation as unfortunate as it will derail the education of many who depend on the institution.
“As a county government we are in a huge crisis because the facility is the only one of its kind in the Northern part of Kenya that accommodates students from Marsabit, Isiolo and Baringo among other neighboring counties which have no single university. It is and has been serving a big number of our youth and other government employees.” he said.
The officer noted that they have been forced to intervene which is a challenge for the county to handle as the upgrade requires a huge budget that the Samburu County government could not handle within the given time frame.
“The much we could try as a government is through donation of land for expansion of the campus which we have done in collaboration with the local community. We have given out 600 acres of land and constructions are going on but we cannot take students there as they are incomplete as we speak. The County Executive added
The County is now calling upon the National Government through the Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i to intervene and support in bringing up of more infrastructure at the school’s grounds, a duty that is said to be under its mandate via the Ministry of Education and Higher Learning.
Student officials at the campus led by the campus president Moses Letitoyia and his counterpart, William Leipele who is the director of welfare at the Laikipia University Maralal Campus told The Star that they have already organized for a peaceful demonstration scheduled for Wednesday, to push for the reversal of the order to close the institution.
Moses noted that there was need for support from the national government through bringing of more resources to the university and consideration of students’ plights that are posing a big threat to their academics and professions.
“We want the national government and the Deputy President, William Ruto who had promised to bring Sh. 50 million in support of the institution to honour their promise to us because there is nowhere else we can go.” Moses said.
A Maralal court has sentenced a 19 year old man to eight years in prison for kidnapping a three year old boy.
Appearing before Resident Magistrate Abraham Gachie, the accused, Ben Dickson Lemalele, pleaded guilty to kidnapping the three year old boy on 23rdAugust 2016 at Changaa Estate in Maralal town, Samburu County.
He also pleaded guilty to a second count of registering an Mpesa account using a stolen identity card.
The prosecution told the court that on the material day, the boy’s mother, Ms. Joy Lekimain, left for work leaving her son at the care of the house help.
At around 1pm, she received a call from the accused, who is her cousin, informing her that the child was missing.
She rushed home, seached for the child to no avail after which she reported the matter at the Maralal police station.
After a short while, she received a call from an unknown person using a Safaricom number informing her that her child was safe and then the caller switched off the phone.
The court further heard that on 25th August, Ms. Lekimain received a message from the same number demanding her to send Ksh 4,000 for the child’s upkeep.
She sent Ksh 2,500 with the transaction recipient being Daniel Gakure Mungai.
The prosecutor further said that on 26th August, Ms. Lekimain received another message demanding her to send a further Ksh 170,000 before 29th August after which the child would be released to her.
“The caller warned that if the demand is not met they should not blame him for what would happen to the child.” the prosecutor said.
He said that the police traced the mobile number to Ichunga Village in Nanyuki, Laikipia County, where they arrested the accused in a rented room together with the child.
After searching the room, the police found one mobile phone with the sim card which was being used to contact the boy’s mother and two identity cards one – belonging to Daniel Gakure Mungai and the other to Rose Lesimalele which were produced in court as evidence.
In mitigation, the accused said that the kidnapping was a practical joke which went bad. He also apologized to the family and said he was about to sit his KCSE since he is index 001 at Samburu Mixed Secondary School.
While passing his ruling, the magistrate said the offence is a danger to national security and sentenced him to seven years for kidnapping and one year for registering an Mpesa account using a stolen identity card.