Tanzania has shutdown all activities at one of its largest open air livestock market, the Meserani Livestock Auction Market in Monduli, Arusha.
To enforce the ban, the government sent down armed police officers to stop any trading from taking place; a daunting task when you take into consideration the fact that the market handles well over 1,000 traders every single day.
The move is in line with the national ban on mass gatherings in the face of the ongoing Covid-19 threat.
Safety first, but the close to 200 000 pastoralists who exclusively rely on cattle trade now have to find alternative income generating solutions. As to be expected, the pastoralists are up in arms over the decision to shut down their sole source of daily bread, or meat in this case.
Many are of the view, that the market should be allowed to continue to trade but to take precautionary measures as all other businesses are doing nationwide.
They are also lamenting the enormous losses that they now face, many have to transport their cattle very long distances to get to the market. In many cases, the transport logistics are paid for after and not before the trade. So now the traders have a double burden to shoulder, no sell, and transport expenses to and from the market.
The future remains grim for all industries in the country. Many businesses and office buildings have been closed throughout the country. It is unclear when the corona threat will subside with fears of an apocalyptic end at hand.
The number of corona affected persons in Tanzania continues to rise, however, authorities maintain that all infected people this far are foreigners. Quarantine sites have been set up across the country as well as on the Island of Zanzibar.