Angry traders heckle Waititu over market construction delay

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu addressing media outside Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) offices in Nairobi. [David Njaaga/Standard]
Governor Ferdinand Waititu was humiliated on Sunday after angry traders heckled him over failure by the county government to build Githurai 45 market.

The traders accused the governor of failing to fulfill his promise to build the market if elected after the 2017 polls.

Mr Waititu, who was in the company of Deputy President William Ruto and other leaders from the county, was forced to cut short his address as residents shouted him down.

Dr Ruto was on his way to Mwiki Primary School when he decided to make a stopover in Githurai to address the traders and residents.

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Before making his remarks, Ruto invited a few local leaders to speak. However, the traders started chanting anti-Waititu slogans immediately the governor took the microphone soon after Ruiru MP Esther Gathogo had spoken.

The traders said they would not be addressed by Waititu, who they accused of failing them. Efforts by the governor to calm them down bore no fruit.

Waititu said construction of the market would start soon and called on the traders to be patient.

“We have not forgotten about the market. The county government will ensure construction works start soon. What we are asking for is your patience,” said the governor.

And when he took back the microphone from Waititu, Ruto told the traders the county boss had heard their grievances.

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Has heard you

“The governor has heard you and he will make sure the market is built as soon as possible,” said Ruto.

The traders said they were unhappy the government has not constructed the market even after promising the project would be completed in the current financial year.

“We are tired of his empty promises. He said the market would be built before the end of this financial year. We are just a few days from the end of June and nothing has been done,” said Susan Wairimu, a trader.

She added: “Construction of the market was a major agenda during his election campaigns in 2017 because he knew we needed the facility. And now that he got what he wanted, the market has become a nonissue. We will not allow him to take us for a ride. The governor must fulfill the promise he made to us before he comes here to address us.”

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Paul Njoroge, also a trader, appealed to the county to expedite construction of the market to end their suffering, especially during rainy seasons.

Keep our wares

“We don’t have a place to keep our wares since the government evicted us from the space where the new market was to be constructed. It is our hope the market will be built immediately to save us from the losses we have been incurring. We need a better place to do business from,” he said.

In January, structures that the traders had erected were demolished to give way for construction of the market.

The government yesterday placed an advert in one of the local dailies inviting bidders to tender for the designing and construction of the market and associated amenities.

“Documents containing detailed terms and conditions of the tender should be downloaded from Kiambu County Government website,” read part of the advert.

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Kiambu Governor Ferdinard WaitituGithurai residentsGovernor Waititu heckled