Traders reject plan to relocate market to decongest Kakamega town

Felix Omondi, a small scale trader packing cabbages at Kakamega town. [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

Traders in Kakamega town have refused to shift their businesses to a newly constructed market on the outskirts of town.

The county government put up the modern Sichirayi market in Lurambi at a cost of Sh100 million.

Governor Wycliffe Oparanya led the clean-up exercise that saw hundreds of kiosks demolished two years ago leaving close to 6,000 traders without a place to sell their wares.

Wholesalers, retailers, hardware stores owners and sellers of second-hand clothes were affected by the relocation plans.

Governor Oparanya has indicated that traders affected will be given first priority at the new market.

“Sicharai market will be the largest facility with all requisite social amenities and traders who were relocated during the clean-up drive will be accommodated first,” said the governor.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya speaks during a consultative meeting with small-scale traders in Butere, December 2021. [Benard Lusigi, Standard]

The county government is in the final stages of tarmacking the road leading to the market and installing floodlights at the facility.

“I urge traders to support the initiative to elevate our town to city status because this will benefit them as more investors will be attracted to move here," said Oparanya.

He disclosed that a bus park will be built at the market to help streamline transport business for matatu and boda boda operators.

But traders are opposed to the relocation plan, saying they were not involved in decision making.

Mathews Keya, a trader, said there was no public participation at the inception of the new market project "we just heard that the new market was under construction, we are not ready to move until our concerns are looked into."

Keya said the new site is far from town where there are big businesses.