With social media networks in the country awash with the news of a man in Nakuru who confessed to selling cat meat to samosa traders and hoteliers for six years, vendors of the delicacy in Nakuru town have faced one of the most off-peak seasons this week.
Nation sought to find out how samosa, and generally meat business, went on over the week, the result being the revelation that many people avoided consuming the delicacy for fear of eating cat meat.
Even with the arrest and jailing for three years of the man selling cat meat by a Nakuru court on Monday, it was evident that his revelations left the public in shock with social media posts making the situation worse.
VENDORS COUNT LOSSES
Nation visited some samosa vendors around Nakuru town, seeking to know how their business have been affected by the news.
Moris Waikwa told Nation that before the story hit the town, he was selling at least a hundred samosas a day and was able to support his family of four children, sometimes relying on selling samosas only.
“I was earning good money from the samosa business. This week has been one of the worst. I am only able to sell at most t20 samosas and that is only to my loyal clients; no stranger is buying and this has affected even the business of smokies. I have incurred a huge loss,” Mr Waikwa stated.
Another trader who sought anonymity in order to protect his remaining market told Nation that since the news broke out, he has been forced to rely on selling sausages and eggs to sustain himself, after customers withdrew massively when they realised he sells samosas.
‘Every customer has been cautious, even those who know me closely. Everyone is doubting. I have had to give up samosa business until things cool down,” the vendor said.
On the part of samosa lovers, the tale has been the same as social media posts created feelings of guilt by showing how samosa eaters “have consumed cats”.
“I loved eating that thing and was a loyal customer because it is sweet but not anymore; not after what is going on currently. Now everyone thinks people who eat samosas are cat eaters,” said Ms Marion Wangeci, an M-Pesa agent in Nakuru town.
Nation visited the home of James Mukangu Kimani, the self-confessed cat meat seller, in Kamwago village in Njoro seeking to find out from neighbours and relatives about him.
They described him as one who had disturbed villagers by stealing their animals, chicken and crops and who never listened to advice from elders.
“In his life we have not heard of him stealing cats, we are used to him stealing goats, hens and maize. In this area it is difficult to rear livestock because of Mukangu. We never know peace when he is around. We wish he stays in jail until old age when he cannot disturb us anymore,” said Ms Jane Kimani, a neighbour.
Mr Titus Muigai, a village elder described Mr Mukangu who grew up being a cheeky and who would not listen to elders after his parents died.
“We are used to him creating drama and he has been arrested several times but we did not expect that. He has been vanishing and re-appearing without notice since he is a bachelor. When he leaves we do not know where he goes. Before the incident he had vanished for two weeks,” Mr Muigai said.
One of his relatives said Mr Mukangu was a disgrace to the family due to his bad behaviour.
In the court on Monday, Mr Kimani disclosed he had slaughtered and sold over 1,000 cats to samosa vendors and some hotels in Nakuru town since 2012.
This was after he was arrested while skinning a cat at on Sunday last week.
Chief Magistrate Bernard Mararo sentenced him to three years for slaughtering the animals in non-designated grounds and knowingly selling the meat of an animal not approved to be eaten.
“I was not aware that it was wrong to slaughter cats on open ground. I would have done my business in the forest if I knew," the accused told the court.