Mr Anthony Ndung’u has been a driver for 10 years, transporting fresh produce across the country.
His daily routine involves picking produce and ferrying it to various parts of the country. He can cover as many as 300 kilometres a day, usually alone.
But Mr Ndung’u’s routine was violently disrupted by law enforcers on Friday.
He picked the fresh produce in the afternoon to deliver to a supermarket in Kakamega County.
It is a tough balancing act, for he must get to his destination on time. Failure means the produce will go bad.
Mr Ndung’u reached Gilgil around 7pm but decided to do the stretch to Nakuru, where he would spend the night before proceeding to Kakamega.
As he approached the first roundabout in Nakuru, two police officers stopped the vehicle, demanding to know why he was on the road when there was a curfew.
“I showed them the delivery order papers. I also told them that I am among the essential services workers recognised by the government,” the father of two told the Nation Saturday.
The officers allowed Mr Ndung’u to proceed with his journey.
HIT WITH BATON
But after a little while, he came across another group of officers at another roundabout.
“I gave them the same explanation and travel documents,” Mr Ndung’u said.
“One of them threw the papers away as they ordered me to get back into the vehicle. Another hit me with a baton when I turned to get into the truck.”
Mr Ndung’u added that he was given “about six of the best” canes.
Ponty Pridd Holdings Ltd Saturday condemned the violence meted on its driver, promising to settle Mr Ndung’u’s medical bills.
“This was a delivery to a supermarket. Supermarkets are important in ensuring Kenyans get supplies during this difficult period,” Ponty Pridd MD Anthony Wainaina said.
Despite the treatment, Mr Wainaina said his company will continue keeping the supply chain working.
“In the same respect, we urge the government to be considerate with service providers during this difficult time,” Mr Wainaina said.
In the orders issued by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i is a list of 20 services considered as essential and thus exempted from the curfew.
These include those who offer critical services, among them medical professionals and health workers, security officers, public health and sanitation officers in the county governments, licensed pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies and drug stores, journalists and officers serving with the Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Airports Authority, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, Kenya Airways and Kenya Ports Authority.
Others exempted from the curfew are water service providers, food and farm produce processors, distributors, dealers, wholesalers, retailers and transporters, licensed supermarkets operators, licensed distributors and retailers of petroleum and oil products, fire brigade and emergency response services and postal and courier services.
On Saturday, over 20 human rights organisations said that at least 16 individuals had been clobbered on the first day of the curfew.