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Old Town residents in Mombasa use panya routes to beat cessation orders

Despite the national government deploying hundreds of police officers to enforce the cessation of movement order in Old Town, Mombasa, residents are still sneaking out of the area.

The majority of Old Town residents are cunningly using backstreets to move out of the restricted area.

Police officers have blocked Mlango Wa Papa Road, Mackinnon Market (Marikiti area), the Barclays roundabout, Baroda and Professor Ali Mazrui Road.

Officers are manning the entire stretch of Professor Ali Mazrui Road. They are stationed behind the Huduma Centre (General Post Office building), Central police station, Barka Restaurant and the road leading to Fort Jesus.

Others are at Ndia Kuu and behind the Mombasa Club Hotel next to the shores of Indian Ocean.

However, there are so many unmanned backstreets within Old Town.

Some sly Old Town residents are now using these unmanned roads leading to Bondeni and Kona ya Kilifi.

Residents have complained that the cessation order was ill-timed.

They said the closure of Mackinnon Market (Marikiti) for 15 days will hurt them since a majority of residents are fasting.

“How do you close down a market, which serves thousands of people in Old Town. We do not have food in our homes, and we cannot move out of the area,” resident Halima Aden said.

She claimed that the Mombasa government has left Old Town residents out of the food distribution programme.

“Joho has been giving food to other regions, but we have not received anything in Old Town. Why do you close the only market we have?” she posed.

Mohammed Ali, the chairman of the traders at Mackinnon Market (Marikiti) said they received orders to close the market on Thursday.

“At least 500 traders in the fresh vegetable section, the meat section, and chicken area have been affected. The meat section and the vegetable sections will incur huge losses because their products are perishable,” Ali said.

He said the county government should have directed them to continue trading at the market, but bring in officers to ensure social distancing and hygiene.

Edited by The Star

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