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Tricks brokers use to con goat sellers in Tseikuru

It is a sunny Thursday morning in Tseikuru, a far north town in Mwingi North Sub County. As a resident and a journalist, I want to know first-hand why livestock prices are plummeting yet it is rainy and they survived drought. 


Goat traders. Photo/COURTESY

My first stop is Nziitu River which separates Ngula from Tseikuru CBD on the one side and the upper part heading to Kalimbui and Masyungwa villages on the other.

What I noticed fast and first is that the environment is not conducive to the Bodaboda riders. Some decide to take the back pass to avoid being extorted bribes on the main road at Makutano.

So, in order to hustle, they would rather jostle with mama mbogas going kuthuua than part with Sh100 for facilitation in order to be grated entry into one of the largest cattle markets in Kitui County.

On a free day, I use the Makutano route but today I have used the less known path to see what happens.

You see, I ran through these paths in the morning some years back to go to Tseikuru primary punctually because back then, teachers were administering corporal punishment and I feared the strokes would land on my buttocks or my ears will be pinched by the Teacher on Duty.

Revenue dips

What I noticed is that apart from the Bodaboda riders preferring this path, goat, donkey and cattle sellers use it. They do not go to the main market for livestock that is located at Kasarani.  They finish their business on the sands of Nziitu. This denies the county government revenue they are supposed to collect from the traders too.

On this day, I follow two sellers of donkeys that should be bought at Sh15, 000 each. But on reaching Ngula side of the market, two brokers approach the sellers.

“The market is bad. Can you sell me the animals for Sh7, 000 each?” the middleman asks.  The seller says no. Before making more steps in the wet sand that has been rained on overnight, she is stopped by three other brokers.

“We know you’re selling these donkeys. Take Sh6, 000 and let us go. You see, we are buying this in order to save you since the market slaughter was closed. We will have to ship our donkeys to Murang’a.”, he says as his partner nods.

Shortly, I meet my neighbour who is selling some goats. She is told the market is bad, just as we were. Then the middleman goes to offer her a price which is three times lower than the value of the goats.

Majority of livestock sellers (at least according to Mwingi Times interviews) are poor and others are employed by the rich, so, they are vulnerable to price fluctuations.

Some sell their wealth to buy household items, pay school fees for their children and others do so in order to cater for hospital bills of their sick. So, when you see a seller of animals in Tseikuru, do not underestimate his need. And do not exploit him.

For how long will these brokers exploit residents who do not sell their livestock for luxury but due to a pressing need they want to solve with only what they have?



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