The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Joho Plans Market for Hawkers At Makupa

THE Mombasa government has written to the Transport Secretary Michael Kamau , seeking to have part of some land at Makupa leased to it to create space for hawkers. The land is owned by Kenya Railways Corporation and currently has dilapidated building.

The latest move that is seen as efforts to try settle the controversial issues of hawkers in the Central Business District, Governor Ali Hassan Joho wrote Kamau over the land measuring 3.181 hectares. This is most likely going to be the final designated area for hakwers who had been operating within the CBD. They are embroiled in the tussle with the county government, which spilt over to the courts," Joho said.

"Some of dilapidated houses on the land have been declared unfit for human habitation and portions of the land have been the target of land grabbers who have hived off portions for private development."

In the letter dated March 5, the governor said the county government has set aside enough funds to build hawkers market as they have identified a land for that purpose.

He said the market will ease congestion in the city caused by hawkers who flock there to sell their wares.

"It is regretable that the previous administrations did not reserve land for purporses of establishment of this much needed facility," Joho said.

A plan showing the location of the land was attached to the letter, which was copied to the Transport PS Nduva Muli.

Early last week, hawkers said they are hopeful that their issue will be solved after holding discussions with the county government.

They said Makadara grounds is one of the proposed sites. However, the county government yesterday said the land is privately owned and is still in the CBD.

On February 18, during a court session, the county government proposed three major markets to resettle hawkers.

Hawkers had moved back to court to seek proper interpretation of a ruling made by High Court judge Edward Muriithi in which he asked the county government to allow them to operate outside the CBD while awaiting the hearing of their main petition.

The more than 3,000 hawkers were moved out of the CBD early this year.

County government through their advocate, William Mogaka, proposed Kongowea, Sega and Majengo as alternative markets where hawkers should operate their businesses pending determination of their case.

But the hawkers argued the markets are fully occupied by traders hence it would be difficult to move there. The judge directed that the parties meet and agree on where the hawkers should operate from.

Negotiations are still ongoing.

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