14 February 2013

Kenya: Kitale Traders in Demonstration Over Tax Hike

More than 400 women who conduct business at Soko Moko market in Kitale yesterday held demonstrations to protest the introduction of new rates by the Kitale Municipal Council.

The traders accused the council of closing the market and harassment from officials. The women waved placards with words "Ondiek must go" and Haki yetu" as they chanted songs detailing how they had been unfairly treated.

They accused Joshua Ondiek, the Kitale municipal markets superintendent, of cruelty and being used to frustrate businesses.The traders walked from Laini Moja, Total, Kamukunji market to the Kitale town hall where they addressed journalists.

Led by the Trans Nzoia County Kenya National Chamber of commerce chairman, Martin Waliaula, the demonstrators brought business to a halt for almost an hour.

"We wonder why the council has closed down the market when these women just constructed it using CDF money they earlier applied for," said Waliaula.

Waliaula said on completion of the facility, the council had agreed to charge each trader Sh300 per month, only to receive a notice last week demanding Sh900 per trader.

The traders asked Local Government minister Paul Otuoma to take disciplinary action against the market superintendent.

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