Residents of Kitale in Trans Nzoia County have cried foul of
high prices masks offered in the supermarkets, barely a week after Health CS
Mutahi Kagwe directed Kenyans to be wearing them in public places.
There has been scanty supply of the products across the
country, with the available masks going at a high price that a majority of
Kenyans living from hand to mouth cannot afford.
“The masks are scarce and very expensive, yesterday they were
going at Ksh 50 and today it is ranging from Ksh 80-150. That for sure is
expensive,” said a boda-boda operator.
Supermarkets have urged residents to wear masks although a
number of them are no heeding to this clarion call.
“It is so sad that many residents have ignored the directive
claiming to have washed their hands and are keeping the social distance and say
they need not to have one. It was a directive from the minister himself and we’re
not doing this to keep them away. We need them but we have to provide services following
the set safety precaution” said a security management officer at Tulin supermarket.
CS Kagwe on Tuesday warned that the government will close all
supermarkets found servicing customers who are not wearing protective masks,
which is meant to curb the spread of coronavirus.
“I do not have a problem in getting the mask. But it is
expensive to acquire. One goes at Ksh 100, which is for my supper. I cannot
sleep hungry and buy a mask,” said one customer, after she was denied access to
The government said it has started mass production of masks
at Rivatex and KICOTEC with health CS saying on Thursday that over 30,000 masks
are being produced per day awaiting distribution.
The masks are supposed to cost as little as Kshs.20.