15 February 2013

Kenya: Nyahururu Traders Destroy Council Property in Protest

Nyahururu town was yesterday a no-go zone as traders demonstrated against the municipal council.The traders destroyed council property worth millions of shillings to protest against the "arbitrary increase of levies".

They complained that the council is harassing them by demanding that they pay Sh100 daily for licences, instead of the charges they are used to paying once every year.

This, they said, is too high and unaffordable to small scale traders.The protests started in yesterday morning when the traders refused to pay council workers who had gone to collect the levy.

Council askaris were forced to intervene by arresting some of the traders. The askaris confiscated several motorbikes, fruits and second hand clothes from those who refused to pay.

Several boda operators and clothes, vegetable and fruit vendors then stormed the council offices demanding audience with the town clerk, Jasper Mutwiri, who refused to come out of his office.

This infuriated the traders who set about breaking glass doors and uprooting fences and flowers.The irate traders set the council flag and guards' shelter on fire.

The boda boda operators broke the chains that had been used to fasted their confiscated motor bikes and rode them away.They then lit bonfires to barricade the Nyahururu-Nyeri and Nyahururu-Nakuru roads.

By the time of going to press, the traders were engaging the police in running battles around the town.Efforts by aspiring candidates in Nyahururu to calm them bore no fruits as the traders shouted them down.

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