A World Bank -funded Sh40m modern market project has run into fresh hurdles after Kitengela traders declined to give up space for its construction.
The market was to be constructed three years ago but similar chaos erupted over plans to relocate open-air market traders.
More than 1,000 traders complained of “a flawed and corrupt process” to edge them from the market. They said they won’t cede the ground claiming they had not been consulted and shown a satisfactory alternative ground.
But even as they talk tough, Kajiado county Government is counting down to the expiry of a seven-day notice it issued for them to move to a new ground near Kitengela stadium, away from the town.
On Thursday last week, the irate traders paralysed operations in the market for several hours before they matched to Kitengela sub county offices to present their grievances.
“We will not accept to legitimise a flawed process. We demand a consultation meeting between traders and the County Government. We sense malice to deny us space when the new market is complete’’ said Ms Naomi Mueni, a trader.
The traders have called for all-inclusive register for all traders operating in the market. They are also demanding toilets and water in the new ground.
The trader’s chairman, Samuel Mugo, said the market contributes to the county’s economy, “and friendly environment for the traders ought to be assured before they are moved.”
“Traders constructed their own structures after 2016 chaos. We need time to remove our structures. Some traders deal with perishable goods that require a shade. We fear genuine traders may be edged out of the new ground by hundreds of hawkers operating on streets of Kitengela town.’’ said Mugo
The new market with a capacity of 1,200 traders is among other four in Kajiado County under Nairobi Metropolitan Services Improvement Programme.
Initially, the World Bank was to set up a three storey Sh600m modern market but the current plan outlines a Sh40m market, much to the chagrin of the traders.
Kajiado Governor Joseph Lenku, while addressing Kitengela residents last week promised traders they won’t be moved to new ground without basic facilities.
However, his officers seem to be reading from a different script. The market is expected to be complete in by 2020.