Small traders in Nyeri's new market yesterday held a demonstration against new fees introduced by the council last Friday. More than 500 traders operating in the newly-opened Nyeri Kamukunji said they will not pay they new levies introduced by town clerk Shadrack Mulanga. In a notice that Mulanga signed, each trader is to pay Sh1,200 as stall deposit and a further Sh1, 200 as rent. This is an addition to the usual licence fee of Sh3, 500.
The total cost of running a stall in a year for a trader is Sh19,140.
Yesterday, the traders marched from the market up to town hall and demanded that Mulanaga addresses them. They was a minor confrontation between the traders and the council askaris, who attempted to block the demonstrators from entering the town hall. When town clerk Mulanga emerged from his office, accompanied by deputy mayor Grace Wanyeki, the traders booed them.
The traders' chairman, Peter Wachiuri, rejected the new rates. He claimed the council intends to evict them through the increase of the fees so as to bring in rich traders. The told the town clerk they will camp at the town hall until the rates are revoked. Mulanga maintained the new charges will help to maintain the facility apart from also meeting costs of electricity, water and security. The market was opened by President Kibaki in April. It cost Sh223 million.