Mandera county commissioner Kutswa Olaka has asked leaders not to politicise the destruction of Sh5 million contraband goods, including unsafe food,\ three weeks ago.
Olaka said the government was implementing a court order to burn the goods that were a health hazard and did not meet Kebs requirements.
Residents have faulted the burning, saying foodstuffs including sugar, rice, powdered milk and cooking fat should have been given free to the poor.
Olaka told reporters in Mandera town yesterday that the government will not compromise the health of its citizens.
“As the county head, I will not watch as people are being fed low-quality food. I can’t understand that some leaders, instead of being at the forefront to protect their people against substandard goods, are the ones complaining when the government protects its people’s health,” Olaka said.
He said that when officials seize vehicles that do not meet the National Transport Safety Authority standards, our leaders are always on our neck. “But we must implement government policies at whatever price, ” the county commissioner said.
On Saturday Deputy governor Mohamed Arai, who read Governor Ali Roba’s Madaraka Day speech, asked national government officials to try and resolve issues amicably, without jeopardising business in the region.
Arai said the border with Somalia was closed 10 years ago, preventing the entry of goods and people from Somalia. He asked security agents to look into ways of harmonising cross-border business access at other sites.
Other border points are open during the day but strictly guarded day and night. Customs officials are on hand to inspect goods.
He blamed corrupt police officers manning the border for extorting bribes from donkey cart operators who sneak in goods from Somalia without paying customs duty.
Mandera residents depend on foodstuffs from Somalia and Ethiopia. as Nairobi is more than 1,000km away.