Thika Traders: We'll not pay tax over poor services

Traders in Thika protest yesterday over failure by the county government to provide services. [Kamau Maichuhie, Standard]
Business in Thika town came to a halt yesterday after traders closed their shops for hours to air their grievances about services.

The traders, who held a protest under the auspices of Thika District Business Association (TDBA), vowed not to pay levies until all their problems were addressed.

Among the grievances, the traders want the county to immediately fix are the dilapidated roads, clogged drainages open manholes in the central business district.

The traders held a peaceful procession around the town before presenting their petition to the Thika sub-county administrator who promised to look into their complaints.

“We want it to be known that from today, we will not pay any levies to the county government until our issues are addressed,” said Alfred Wanyoike, the TDBA chairman.

Mr Wanyoike said being the biggest contributors to the county's revenue collection, the traders deserved value for their money.

Garbage collection

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The traders are also demanding repair, installation and maintenance of street lights and regular collection of garbage.

They are also seeking a lasting solution to parking and parking rates, hawker menace and business operators who have erected structures in front of their premises.

The country recently increased parking fees in Thika from Sh50 to Sh100. The town has also been grappling with influx of hawkers said to be from the neighbouring Nairobi and Murang’a counties.

“There is also an urgent need to re-organise the transport industry in the town with a view to decongesting it, address the issue of street families as well as many the beggars who have invaded the town,” said Samuel Ndung’u, a businessman.

The town has in the recent years been experiencing perennial traffic snarl-ups more so during morning and evening rush hours.

The traders have also accused some enforcement officers of harassing them by demanding to review their licence payments upwards.

“We want to know if it is the county government that has been sending these rogue enforcement officers to harass us,” said Mary Waithera.

The protest by the traders comes hot on the heels of the launch of Governor Ferdinand Waititu's Sh100 million Thika beautification project.

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Thika townThika District Business AssociationGarbage collectionhawkers