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Kerugoya traders count losses as roadside stalls demolished

Friday April 26 2019

Hawkers in Kerugoya town

Traders in Kerugoya town gather what is left of their stalls which were demolished by the Kirinyaga County government enforcement officers on April 26, 2019. 

GEORGE MUNENE
By GEORGE MUNENE
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Roadside traders in Kerugoya town are counting losses after their stalls were demolished by the Kirinyaga County government.

The county enforcement officers descended on the structures at dawn on Friday and pulled them down them down, triggering protest from the traders.

The traders arrived in the morning ready for their routine businesses but were shocked to find their stalls had been destroyed and the debris scattered on the streets.

The county officers said they had instructions to remove the structures from the central business district as they were illegal.

The officers claimed some of the structures had been put up on road reserves while others were dirty and had to be destroyed.

ROAD RESERVE

But the traders denied that the structures were on road reserves and accused the county government of stifling small businesses.

"We have been operating in this area for decades but the government is attempting to push us out of business,” said Ms Joyce Wanja, one of the traders.

Ms Wanja said she had incurred loss of more than Sh30,000, adding that the county authorities had not given them notice to vacate.

"The officers took us by surprise and caused massive destruction to property. This government is ruthless and should be rejected,” said Ms Wanja.

Another trader, Ms Immaculate Wanjiru, said she lost property worth Sh100,000 and regretted why such a government was elected.

"We voted for this government but it is now turning against us,” said Ms Wanjiru.

The traders said they have been paying trading levies to the government without fail.

"If the structures were illegal they would not have accepted levies from us,” said another trader.