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Why Kisumu may have to contend with dangerous roadside markets longer

By Harold Odhiambo | Published Thu, January 11th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 10th 2018 at 21:15 GMT +3
This picture taken on Sunday shows temporary stalls on the streets after Kibuye market was demolished to make way for expansion. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Plans to upgrade the county's three main markets have stalled despite the authorities investing millions of shillings.

The modernisation and expansion of Otonglo, Jubilee and Kibuye markets has also been complicated by traders who have refused to move out to make way for the construction works.

The county government has admitted to facing many challenges in the matter.

Construction was scheduled to begin in November 2016, during former governor Jack Ranguma's term, at a cost of Sh770 million provided by the French government.

However, little progress has been made even as the number of traders continues to increase.

As a result, the county government has to contend with many makeshift stalls on the roads, which pose a danger to road users and the traders. At night, some of these temporary markets are said to turn into hideouts for criminals.

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The Anyang' Nyong'o administration is struggling to jump start the upgrades under the Kisumu Urban Project.

The county government is faced with the tough challenge of finding temporary alternative space to host the traders as it rebuilds the markets.

Some traders have opposed plans to move them out of the markets, citing the risk of losing business.

However, Physical Planning and Urban Development Executive Nerry Achar said plans to modernise the markets were still on.

Mr Achar said they would begin with the Jubilee market and release the timelines soon. He said it would take about two years to complete the project.

"We are facing a big problem with how to move the traders out of the market to pave the way for construction. However, we are still on course and works at Jubilee market will start soon," he added.

Suitable place

"Our main problem has been finding a suitable place to accommodate them (traders) as we race against time to complete the projects."

 

The previous regime spent an unknown amount of money on studies and even hired architects to draw the new plan for Kibuye market.

The plans were discontinued after traders refused to leave, demanding alternative space first.

Traders evicted from Oile market set up shop on the roads, especially along Angawa Street near the main bus park.

Many are waiting to see how the government will restart the projects that have been marred by controversy.

The county is also expected to manage roadside markets that have been mushrooming across towns as the number of traders increases.

At Kibuye, traders have occupied part of the Kakamega-Kisumu road oblivious to the risks they are subjecting themselves to from speeding vehicles.

The traders accused the county government of lack of progress in building their market.

Yusuf Bolo, the chairman of Kibuye market, said the county government has been quiet about plans to modernise the facility.

“We hoped they would improve the drainage system and increase the number of stalls but there has been nothing up to now,” said Mr Bolo yesterday.

And Christine Ochieng, a trader at Jubilee market, said: "The government is playing games with us. They told us they would build better stalls to accommodate all of us but nothing has been done. Yet we have families to feed besides other responsibilities."

The main bus park now looks like an open air market with traders all over the place. They have gone as far as sitting on the tarmac to sell their wares, unperturbed by the danger of being hit by cars.

Tuk tuk taxis and matatus often have to swerve to avoid hitting the traders.

However, some of the business people are optimistic that the county government will soon restore order.


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