Traders in Turmoil as Nyongo 7 day Notice Expires

  • Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong'o.
    Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong'o.
  • 10,000 traders in Kisumu are facing eviction from a public park after a 7-day notice by the County Government expires.

    An official statement from Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyongo, on Monday October 26, revealed that the project is part of the ongoing second beautification phase in preparation for the Africities conference slated for November the following year.

    ''We want to improve on the aesthetic value of the city and to make sure that anybody who walks in the city streets does not walk on mud but paved cabros and tarmac, hence the cleanup,'' said Nyong'o.

    An image of Mtindwa demolitions
    Salvaged timber from the Mtindwa demolitions on Tuesday, August 25.
    Douglas Okidi

    This directive puts more than 10,000 traders in limbo as they seek new premises to carry out their operations. According to acting Kisumu City Manager Abala Wanga, the traders vacating the parks is necessary for the county to continue its operations.

    "The move is to pave way for the rehabilitation of the parks for a period of 12 months. We want to make sure that we complete repair, tarmacking and grading of all major roads leading to and out of the city ahead of the 2021 Africities meeting by end of this year," Wanga told the Standard. 

    A few days ago, the ongoing second beautification phase saw more than 50 kiosks demolished by the county government. Areas affected include Kiosks in Milimani and Mountain View estates and Jua kali area. 

    Governor Nyongo, in his defense, stated that a 10,000 small traders Centre is undergoing construction at the new Uhuru Business Park. Traders have expressed their concern and appeal to the county government to reconsider the move stating that the new park will only lead to congestion.

    "We want our traders to remain along Mosque-Kosawa Mbuta Corner road. The new market will only expose them to Covid-19,"  said the vice-chairman of Kisumu Mitumba Association, Christopher Obaje. He also cited that a few traders attacked each other to fight for space within the new market. 

    The secretary to the Mitumba Association, Molly Atieno also opined that resumption of sporting activities would only make the situation worse. She advocated for the government to reconsider the 7-day notice stating the time given was not adequate for the traders to vacate and look for a new premise as they await the Uhuru business park to be completed.

    The Africities event is expected to attract more than 10,000 businessmen across Africa. The summit seeks to share strategies to improve the deplorable conditions of local populations within Africa and to also contribute to integration, peace, and unity from the grassroots.

    Many new government operations have affected the small business traders who have been forced to vacate or find their businesses demolished. Traders in Githurai counted losses after waking up to find their business premises demolished on Wednesday, August 26.

    The affected traders whose stalls were near the railway line, operated at Githurai market. The traders are reported to have been issued with a two-day notice in the expansion project of the railway line by Kenya Railways.

    Owners of some 300 businesses in Nakuru also faced a similar situation after Kenya Railways demolished their business structures at night.

    The demolitions come ahead of a planned rehabilitation of the Nairobi-Nakuru-Kisumu railway line by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF). The exercise is reportedly also meant to pave way for the construction of Ksh160 billion Limuru-Nakuru road into a four-lane dual-carriageway.

    Sany tractor demolishes a building in Nakuru on Sunday, October 11, 2020.
    Sany tractor demolishes a building in Nakuru on Sunday, October 11, 2020.