25 January 2014

Kenya: Kongowea Market Closed Over New Tax

Photo: Siegfried Modola/IRIN
A trader at a market (file photo).

Kongowea traders yesterday closed the market to protest the 400 per cent rate increase imposed by the Mombasa government.

Those who opened their shops were forced to close them while those who refused were beaten and their goods destroyed.

Kisauni police boss Julius Wanjohi and his officers, dressed in riot gear, were on standby.

The traders turned the market into a sports complex and played football while others skipped rope or athletics.

The market leaders, including the central committee vice chairman Bernard Kajwang' and former secretary general Richard Onyango, said the strike will continue until an amicable solution is found.

"We have had two meetings with the county government officials including acting county secretary Hamis Mwaguya and Trade executive Mohamed Abdi. We have agreed to meet on Monday at 2pm to discuss this," said Kajwang' at the market yesterday.

He said the meeting will determine whether they will continue with the strike or call it off. Meanwhile, Mombasa MCAs said the 400 per cent increase is a small amount and the matter has only been blown out of proportion.

Addressing the press at the county assembly building yesterday, majority leader Khamis Mwabashiri said the traders are being incited by brokers.

"Tomato levies have been raised from Sh20 to Sh100. Who cannot afford Sh100 at the market?" said Mwabashiri.

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