Kiambu, Kenya: Despite it’s crucial role in the economy of Kiambu County, Ruiru market still remains as dilapidated as it was before the devolved system.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, more than 800 traders converge at the market to sell their wares to the more than 3,000 customers from all over the region.
Resident say traders and customers travel from as far as Lari, Githunguri and Juja constituencies to sell or buy goods each market day.
It is estimated that millions of shillings exchange hands on each of th two days.
But a visit to the sub-county market reveals a different story.
The market has neither a gate nor a perimetre wall, making it easy for thieves and muggers to easily access the facility.
“Since a lot of money changes hands during market days, trader and customers are easy targets of thieves. Each market day, we must hear reports that someone was mugged, or even killed,” said Irene Wangui, a trader.
She says the market has only two toilets, which are expected to serve hundreds of people.
There is also a serious problem of water.
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“Water is rarely available and when it does, traders have to part with Sh5 for a 20-litre container,” says Ms Wangui.
Because the county government does not provide security, traders have been forced to employ day and night guards to protect their wares.
This, however, leaves them Sh50 poorer as they are required to come up with the amount every end month to cater for the guards’ services.
Scenes of garbage heaps greet the eyes of visitors to the facility. Traders say it normally takes weeks before the county government can collect them, which they say has become a serious health hazard.
Of greater concern are scores of food hawkers who sell their commodities despite the garbage eyesore.
The market’s chairman James Mwaura says they have petitioned the county government countless times on the issue of toilets, water, garbage and a gate. Ruiru sub-county administrator Mohammed Abdi say the county was aware of the problems.