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A row has erupted between Taita-Taveta County Governor Granton Samboja and traders over the closure of several business premises in Taita sub-County.
The closure of dozens of entertainment joints among other businesses has now moved to the assembly with traders petitioning the members of the county assembly (MCAs) to intervene.
The traders among them bar operators and second-hand clothes dealers from Werugha, Mghambonyi, and Mgange trading centres claimed the closure of their businesses by Governor Granton Samboja had affected their economic livelihood.
In a petition read to the house by the assembly Speaker Meshack Maganga, the traders alleged that they were not given a notice to the closure of their businesses.
Recently, the governor raided several entertainment joints in the ongoing crackdown on operators flouting liquor licensing laws in the region.
Samboja closed 14 bars at his Werugha location backyard and Mghambonyi trading centre respectively when he launched the crackdown a fortnight ago.
The governor went ahead to bar second-hand clothes dealers from selling their wares on Sunday.
Samboja said his administration would not allow the businessmen to operate on Sunday, a prayer day.
In their petition to the house on Thursday, the traders said they are law-abiding citizens and wondered why the governor decided to shut down their businesses.
“We have licenses for our closed business and some of us took loans that we are currently servicing. By closing our business the governor is killing us and the economy because we have to repay the loans and at the same time fend and educate our children,” protested the traders.
The petition drew angry reactions from assembly members who accused the governor of allegedly breaking the law.
“It is wrong for the governor to go to Mgange market on Sunday and block traders from selling their second-hand clothes. Why force people to go to Church,” posed Mata Ward Representative Chanzu Khamadi.
He said the county government would pay dearly to the traders if they decide to take legal action.
“What the governor did is wrong and against the constitution. Why close business for people who are looking for money to pay fees for their children. This is wrong and tantamount to prosecution,” warned Khamadi.
“We should speak the truth to shame the devil. What the governor did to the traders is wrong and liable to prosecution,” he told the assembly speaker.
Speaker Maganga committed the petition to the Trade Committee for determination.
Earlier the governor ordered that all bars will be closing at 9 pm and not 11 pm as earlier stipulated.
He at the same time said the entertainment joints would be reduced by 50 percent.
But the bar operators have dismissed the governor’s new directive as unworkable, retrogressive and out to kill their businesses.
“The governor’s new directive is retrogressive. The stipulated time to close bars is 11 pm and not 9 pm as announced by the governor. We will challenge the governor’s directive in court,” warned one of the bar operators in Wundanyi town.

Business News
A row has erupted between Taita-Taveta County Governor Granton Samboja and traders over the closure of several business premises in Taita sub-County.


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