Since 1902

Tension quelled in distribution of stalls in a Homa Bay market Sh117.8 m

The newly-constructed Homa Bay modern market. [James Omoro, Standard]

The Government has restored order in distribution of stalls and space in a newly built Sh117.8 million modern market in Homa Bay town.

The market whose building was funded by the World Bank in partnership with the national and Homa Bay county government was completed months ago.

Distribution of shades started on Monday. However, complaints arose that the distribution exercise was hijacked by armed goons.

The goons were allocating traders space illegally, a situation which led to erection of illegal structures.

 Homa Bay Giant Traders Association chairman Geoffrey Okoth and Secretary-General Simeon Kwach said the goons caused tension by threatening to assault traders.

“They chased me with intention of assaulting me with a panga when I tried to question what they were doing in the market,” Okoth said.

 The goons also solicited money from traders in exchange for market space.

“They were receiving between Sh30,000 and 50,000 from a trader as a pre-condition for getting space in the market. We warned traders not to give them money but a number of traders defied us and lost their money collected by the goons,” Kwach said.

On Thursday, Homa Bay County Commissioner Moses Lilan said they had restored order in the market.

Lilan said they had demolished all illegal structures.

“I want Homa Bay residents to know that distribution of the market space has not been taken over by goons. We have put adequate security measures to return order in the market," Lilan said.

The administrator said the market space distribution had been left to county government officials.

“All the illegal and unplanned structures have been demolished in the county and the market management is currently under the county government,” Lilan said.

The administrator warned that no temporary structures will be allowed in the market.

The move was hailed by the traders.

“It is true that the government has rescued us. There was disorder in this market but everything is now in order,” Kwacha said.

The market has capacity of accommodating 2000 traders.