Kisumu traders shun new market, vow to resist hawking ban

The entrance to Uhuru Business Park Market Complex in Kisumu City.

The entrance to Uhuru Business Park Market Complex in Kisumu City. Traders in Kisumu City have vowed not to relocate to the market until their demands are met.
 

Photo credit: Isaac Wale | Nation Media Group

Traders in Kisumu City have vowed not to relocate to the Uhuru Business Park until their demands are met.

This is despite Governor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o slapping a ban on street hawking last week, following the completion of the Sh600 million facility. 

The market has the capacity to accommodate approximately 10,000 traders. Governor Nyong’o said that street trade was unsanitary and exposed residents to various hazards.

The traders have, however, continued to sell their wares on city streets, claiming that the location of the market is not convenient for their customers.

“The market has been unable to attract customers. We often go for days without selling anything,” said Mr David Okeyo.

Mr Okeyo claimed that, while the market is large enough to accommodate thousands of traders, only a small group had been allocated spaces within the premises while the rest continue to sell along the streets and inside the busy bus park.

“Customers rarely visit this market because they have the option of buying from traders at the bus park and along the streets,” said Ms Rose Omondi, who added that, for the hawking ban to work, the governor must find a way of ensuring that all traders were accommodated inside the new market.

A spot check by Nation yesterday revealed a neglected market with empty stalls draped in cobwebs and corridors that were teeming with garbage.

Only a handful of traders have occupied their spaces in the market, whose first phase of construction was finished in February last year.

Hoarding stalls

The traders have also raised concerns over powerful individuals, who are hoarding market stalls with the aim of renting them out.

According to Ms Omondi, a number of genuine traders have lost their spaces to the cartels. City Manager Abala Wanga had hinted at revoking the documents of the traders who had already been awarded spaces.

“There is a lot of tension in the market amid frequent fights over spaces. We are appealing to the governor to settle this matter or we will be forced to stage peaceful demonstrations,” one of the traders told Nation.

Last week, the county boss revealed that some 5,000 traders who were displaced during the rehabilitation of Kisumu Port and upgrading of the railway line would be hosted at the market. 

The traders who will occupy the facility are those who were displaced from Lwangni, Akamba Line, Fontala, Konyando, KPLC, Back Street, Nyam Lori, Winamart and Varsity areas.

While announcing the completion of phase two of the project, the governor said plans to resettle traders were underway.

Prof Nyong’o directed the city’s management and the Department of Trade to register beneficiaries using biometric technology to ensure smooth the resettlement of traders. He further urged the county officials to hold regular consultations with the business community to forestall disagreements.

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