Vendors Make A Kill On Malaba Traffic Jam

A section of Malaba residents living along the busy Kanduyi-Malaba Highway are making a livelihood out of the heavy traffic jam at the Malaba border point.

The increasing number of hawkers in the past one month is a game changer for many businesspersons, shifting to mobile hotel services being provided to truck drivers.

A survey by KNA has seen more than 60% of the shop vendors turning to mobile operations, which has in turn employed more youths who act as brokers, linking up traders and truck drivers, who are the main customers.

Kenneth Okoit, who offers cleaning services on the trucks, revealed that with heavy traffic, he is able to make over Sh2,000 daily from washing trucks which are cleaned while still in the traffic jam.

‘On a good day, we get more than Sh2000 just from washing trucks; we charge between Sh350 and Sh400 per truck, depending on the size of the outside body wash,’ said Okoit.

The carwash services have kept more youths busy, thus reducing cases of unemployment and crime within Malaba a
nd the adjacent towns of Kocholia, Lukolis, and Osere city.

Malaba One Stop Border Post clears over 2000 trucks on a daily basis, making it the busiest gateway from Kenya to other East African countries in Africa.

As the hawkers are smiling and earning, the business owners and retailers have complained of poor sales as the drivers are not purchasing from them since the hawkers are offering services to their doorstep along the highway.

Most of them have been forced to offer employment to some youths to hawk their products in order to cope with the stiff competition accrued from the hawkers.

‘These people are paralysing retail shop services, as we can hardly sell in recent days. They have earned trust from truck drivers, and they are now even hawking Mpesa services, yet we pay rent and licenses,’ lamented one of the shopkeepers.

Other products sold by hawkers include, but are not limited to, foodstuffs, clothing, telephone and electronics accessories, beverages, and utensils.

Businesspersons have since as
ked the County Government of Busia to license the hawkers, as they are worried of being thrown out of business if the trend continues.

The open-air market has attracted vendors from Uganda, hence increasing the level of competition, which has put in question the quality of the goods being sold to customers.

Teso North Children Officer Joy Alumase, on the other hand, wants the county to enact harsh penalties on child labour, a trend that is on the rise in Busia County. A majority of the cases are being reported in Malaba and Matayos Towns, with the child neglect rate standing at 58.5%.

‘The business has attracted cases of teenage pregnancies and school dropouts among school-going children along the highway who have now turned to vending, contrary to the Children Act of 2022 and labour laws,’ said Alumase.

As hawkers enjoy it, the truck drivers, on the other hand, have expressed their disappointments to the clearance office at the Malaba border point, stating that their sluggish operations are the main caus
e of the traffic snarl, which cost them a lot of money.

The drivers want CS Kipchumba Murkomen to visit Malaba border point again and kick-start faster operations at the main clearance office to reduce time wastage.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Digiqole Ad