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Nakuru's Wakulima Market gets a Sh20m facelift

BUSINESS NEWS
By Kennedy Gachuhi | May 6th 2019

Traders at the revamped Nakuru Wakulima Market. The new stalls have transformed the state of the facility. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

A Sh20 million face-lift of Wakulima Market has revived the fortunes of traders in Nakuru town.

For years, the more than 10,000 traders at the market have been grappling with burst sewers, the scorching sun, insecurity and inaccessibility during heavy rains.

A public outcry saw the county invest Sh20 million in the current financial year for construction of modern stalls that have now transformed the market.

"The market has been an eyesore for us and for our customers, many of whom we lost. The conditions have, however, been reversed," says Yusuf Mtuta, the traders' chairman.

Hundreds of banana sellers have been operating in temporary timber shelters with poor roofing.

According to Mtuta, many traders have been waking up to destroyed stocks due to leaking structures.

Some incurred such heavy losses that they closed shop.

"Some traders lost stock worth thousands of shillings overnight," he said.

Theft of stock in the cover of darkness has also been a major challenge, with scores of street families spending nights at the market.

Margaret Wanjiru, who was among the first traders to be allocated the recently constructed stalls, has been operating at the market since 1988.

She says whenever it rained traders had to close shop and dash for cover in neighbouring buildings.

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The disorganised stalls did not make things any better.

"There was no structured organisation of stalls. Some of them were on the spaces reserved for access roads and many traders feared they would wake up to flattened stalls or destroyed stock," said Ms Wanjiru.

The growing number of traders had also increased pressure on the sewerage system, leading to occasional sewer bursts.

Teresiah Anyango, who has been a sweet potato vendor at the market for the past 15 years, said traders had been pushing for the improvement of the market "for ages".

"Whenever there was rain or sewer burst, you would find flood water or raw sewage flowing beneath the stalls, but we had nowhere else to go. We are glad that the county administration has addressed this," said Ms Anyango.

Thanks to the face-lift, the market is slowly taking shape. For the traders, it is a dream come true.

The old sewerage system has been revamped, and sewer bursts are now a thing of the past. The stalls are roofed, secure and organised.

“We now have fresh air in the market. It has also improved our safety," says Anyango. 

Governor Lee Kinyanjui assured the traders of his commitment to improve the state of the market and promised more funds next year.

"We are improving markets across the county at a cost of Sh100 million," he said.

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