The Star (Nairobi)

13 September 2012

Kenya: Market Faces Closure Over Piling Filth

The main market in Eldoret town face closure because of congestion and poor sanitation. The move has angered traders who are accusing the municipal council of neglecting the market. More than 50,000 traders and residents use the market daily, but it does not have clean toilets, insufficient water and its drainage system is clogged. The market is littered with heaps of uncollected garbage.

Aspirants running for the Market Ward civic seat have been using the "dirty" market as a campaign tool and have put the council to task over the market's unhygienic conditions. "This is an important market for this region, but its condition has become a health hazard to those of us who use it," said businesswoman Jane Wangui. The businesswoman led traders in a clean-up exercise at the market and asked the council to expand it and provide a clean and habitable environment. "There has been laxity on the part of the council in ensuring the market meets healthy standards of cleanliness," said Wangui.

Mayor William Rono said the council plans to expand the market and improve its state once funds are available. "The council understands the challenges the market is facing and will deal with the matter", said Rono. Wangui is among the four aspirants vying for the Market ward seat in the by-elections on September 17. She is running on a TNA ticket.

Other aspirants are Stephen Mugwira running on a URP ticket, Gaudenzia Jepchirchir on ODM and Josphat Kemboi on UDF. The seat fell vacant after Wangui filed an election petition in court in 2009. In her petition she told the court that William Kiptum's election was irregularly. Mugwira has promised to unite the residents in the area and work to implement development initiatives. Wangui however says residents of the area which has about 20,000 voters should not accept to have a leader imposed on them.

"Elect someone you know will serve you and represent your interests well and not someone's puppet," said Wangui. The High Court nullified the election of ODM's William Kiptum leading to the by-elections. The main battle is between TNA and URP candidates. Campaigns for the civic seat whichj covers half of Eldoret town have intensified ahead of the polls during which URP and TNA will be testing the ground in the area ahead of the general elections. The IEBC says its ready for the by-elections and wants voters in the area to exercise maturity.

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