The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Kakamega Traders Finally Occupy Stalls

Kakamega Municipal Council has finally allocated stalls at the delayed Sh153 million market to traders. Mayor Matias Sichere yesterday said that balloting for the stalls was conducted on December 28 and supervised by wananchi to ensure transparency.

Over 400 applicants took part in the balloting.

"Out of those who took part in the balloting, only 56 traders picked no," said Sichere. "However, traders who had been relocated from the old market to pave the way for construction of the new one, were not subjected to balloting."

The mayor said the council has decided to keep the councillors out of the balloting, because some of them had been accused of collecting money from traders promising them allocation of stalls.

Sichere said top officials of the traders' organisation skipped the balloting and therefore did not apply for the stalls. Local Government minister Paul Otuoma had directed contractors building markets under his docket to ensure completion and handing over of the facilities to the users by end of December last year.

It remains unclear when the traders will occupy their new stalls since the contractor is still on site. Channa Construction Company, which started work in 2010 was expected to hand over the facility to the council before April last year.

The contractor sought extension several times, citing the interference of heavy rains that pounded the region in the last quarter of the year. Sichere said the constructor is supposed to leave the site by end of February.

"We decided to allocate the stalls even before the contractor leaves the site because we wanted to avoid confusion during the campaign period," he said.

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