Court gives county two weeks to complete renovation of market

A street trader selling their goods outside the Eldoret main market. [Kevin Tunoi/Standard]
At least 2,000 traders moved to the High Court following closure of the market for three months, for renovation.

They sought orders seeking speedy upgrade of the market as well as orders to stop the county government from charging taxes for the period they have been out of business.

The closure of the town’s biggest market was, according to the county authorities, occasioned by need to improve sanitation.

Traders clashed with county enforcement officers in an incident where 25 people were injured a week before the market was closed last year.

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They cited discrimination and arbitrary arrests of traders by county askaris.

County Trade Executive Emily Kogos said the market had a capacity of 695 traders but the number had increased to more than 4,500 traders, leading to congestion and poor sanitation.

But the High Court directed the county government to complete construction by February 8 to allow traders to resume business.

Judge Antony Obwayo said court officials would tour the market on February 8 to assess it and confirm compliance of the orders.

The traders’ lawyer Tobias Mugambi welcomed the ruling.

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“It was not justifiable to ask traders who have not been doing business to pay arrears in county taxes. It is also fair that the judge will be in the market to confirm county government activities in the market,” Mr Mugambi said.

Eldoret main market traders chairman Zakayo Maina said traders had not been allowed into the market since the closure.

“As traders, we have been kept in the dark. We are told 90 per cent of the renovation work has been done. We are happy that we will get the opportunity to confirm the progress when the judge will hold his sittings on the site,” said Mr Maina.

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tradersEldoret marketCounty Trade Executive Emily Kogos