EXCLUSIVE: Traders return to Londiani dangerspot months after horrific accident
Five months after Kenyans woke up to the news of a tragic road accident at Londiani, along the Nakuru-Kericho highway, which claimed the lives of over 50 people, traders operating in the accident-prone zone seem oblivious to the risks.
The June 30, 2023 accident, also led to dozens of casualties.
It appears, however, that traders have not drawn lessons from the incident.
Peter Koech is one of the hawkers, and in an exclusive interview with Nairobi News at the accident site, argues that he relies on selling fresh farm produce to passersby to sustain his family.
“I have a wife and children, and they all depend on me to feed them and pay school fees,” said the businessman.
During the interview, we found the father of three selling potatoes in an area notorious for high vehicle and human traffic.
Surprisingly, traders display the wares in a risky way, paying little attention to the vehicle traffic heading towards Nairobi, Kisumu, and Eldoret.
They can be seen crossing the road without observing caution.
“We are hustling to make ends meet,” Mr Koech said, lamenting the lack of employment that forces him to venture into vending fresh farm produce.
Fridah Chepng’eno, another trader, says she has known Londiani as her hustle station for the past decade.
The mother of two sells garden peas, commonly known as minji, and carrots.
“I have nowhere else to go to provide for my family. It is only God who protects us,” she emphasized.
While these traders seem less concerned about their safety, trucks, and trailers are spotted moving at high speed.
And what if a trailer loses control while in transit? What happens to the hawkers?
Kevin Ndirangu responded, saying even the drivers need to be careful and keen while plying the route.
“Anyone familiar with Londiani knows traders are earning a living by selling farm produce. Therefore, it is their responsibility to care about us. They should promote our business and not hit us with vehicles,” Mr Ndirangu stated.
Apart from potatoes, carrots, and garden peas, Londiani is famous for selling roasted maize, and various types of fruits, and vegetables, among other fresh farm produce.
In the June 2023 accident at Londiani, a trailer bearing a Rwandan registration number lost control, ramming into roadside traders, and causing the deaths of over 50 people.
The hotspot area lacks speed bumps, raising questions about the integrity of the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) in ensuring road safety.