Businesses came to a standstill at the Lamu Municipal Market on Monday after traders held a protest over alleged invasion by illegal traders and hawkers.
They say the ‘strangers’ have taken over space surrounding the market and are wooing away their customers.
The more than 100 traders closed the municipal market saying they would not budge until the county government intervenes.
Lamu Municipal Market Traders chairperson Abdalla Abdullahi said they would not resume work until the county government ensures that all traders operate under the same rules.
“We’re not happy at all. These illegal traders have stolen our loyal customers and we are recording massive losses on a daily basis,” said Mr Abdullahi.
The organisation’s secretary-general, Mr Geoffrey Walumbe, said some traders have even gone ahead to sell their wares at ridiculously low prices to attract buyers.
“We’ve raised the concern for almost five years now. We pay taxes and adhere to all regulations yet we are the ones counting losses,” he said.
But Ms Mary Wamuyu, who operates outside the market, denied the claims.
“We all complied with the requirements. The market is small and crowded; that’s why all of us can’t operate from inside. We won’t go anywhere no matter what they do,” said Ms Wamuyu.