Isiolo town and Burat Ward sand loaders clash over 'unfair' competition

Isiolo sand loaders

Isiolo's Inywedan sand loaders group Vice Chair Sammy Lorere with other Burat Ward sand loaders representatives address journalists in Isiolo town on January 25, 2023.  

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu | Nation Media GroupLoad

A row is brewing between Isiolo town sand loaders and their counterparts in Burat Ward over alleged unfair competition.

While the town loaders insist they have the freedom to work in any part of the county, the Burat team has warned them against accompanying lorries’ collecting the raw material from their areas.

Representatives from four Burat sand loaders criticised the rival group for claiming that sand transporters had been barred from visiting Alamach, Aremiet, Murulem and Lotik areas.

“There are no restrictions to the site. We have only asked loaders stationed in the town to come to the sites and be registered under our groups so that we work together,” Asunyen/Lotik group Chairperson Petro Lorot said.

The Isiolo town loaders had asked Governor Abdi Ibrahim Guyo to intervene and help resolve the standoff that was threatening their livelihoods.

 “We have been working together but all of a sudden, they (Burat team) gave us an ultimatum to stop collecting sand from their areas from January 23,” Mr Philip Murithi said. He claimed that the row was politically instigated.

But the Burat loaders on Friday accused their town counterparts of cashing in on loading and unloading sand while their members only benefited from loading.

Inywedan group Vice-Chair Sammy Lorere said: “Two town loaders accompany drivers to sand harvesting sites and out of the Sh2,500 that we charge, they share half the amount while our many members get as low as Sh150.”  

He said the previous arrangement exposed their members to suffering while the other group benefited.

Through the Riparian Resource Management Authority, Rurat groups have been allowed by the National Environment Management Authority to collect Sh500 from all lorries collecting sand from the area for conservation efforts.

The town loaders can accompany lorries collecting sand from River Ewaso Nyiro at Archers Post bridge.


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