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Muthurwa market dream has failed

Updated Tue, May 19th 2009 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Joe Kiarie and Kenfrey Kiberenge

Its construction was marketed as one of the boldest moves to control hawking and traffic congestion in Nairobi.

When then Local Government Minister Musikari Kombo, commissioned the construction in 2006, there was relief and accolades from the would-be beneficiaries.

And when President Kibaki finally opened the Muthurwa market and matatu terminus in December 2007, there was ululation.

Modern facility

It was said to be one of the most modern public facilities in Nairobi that would transform smallscale businesses.

It was also expected to ease traffic congestion in the city centre by acting as terminus for all public service vehicles from Eastlands.

Barely two years later, the market that cost Sh700 million to put up has failed to impress. Instead it has created more chaos than it had anticipated to resolve.

It has been branded a monument of poor workmanship. The Architectural Association of Kenya says the market was poorly designed and many aspects overlooked.

The market that was built in one year is nothing like it was envisioned.

The plan included a 24-hour market with basic facilities like water, restrooms, lighting, a hospital, a police station, multi-storied stalls, a banking hall and an administration office.


Sixteen months down the line, Muthurwa has become the epitome of chaos.

The 12-hectare complex has degenerated into a den of muggers where hawkers and matatu operators jostle for space.

Now, they are desperately clawing back into the city centre.

Burst sewers, dusty if not muddy roads, congestion, pickpockets and lack of water are some of the chaos that has become synonymous with the facility.

This is not to mention poor lighting that takes its toll on business as early as 6.30pm.

"The only floodlight that works is the one belonging to Kenya Railways. The City Council’s floodlights have never functioned and people are at the mercy of muggers once it is dark," says Mr Maurice Gitau, a driver plying the Komarock route.

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