The Star (Nairobi)

6 June 2014

Kenya: Nakuru Traders Defy Orders to Pay Levies

There was a stand off for the second day in a row at the Nakuru Wakulima market as traders remained adamant against paying levies to the Nakuru County government.

This was despite communication from the governor's office on Wednesday that the rehabilitation of their market would soon be completed. The traders who are protesting poor service delivery at the market engaged administration police that had been deployed to the market in the wee hours of the morning in a shouting match.

The APs in riot gear had earlier blocked two main gates to the market barring access by more than 40 lorries delivering produce to the traders until they had paid levies.

The traders however, eventually outsmarted the police officers after they forced open a third gate that's rarely used and directed traffic towards that gate while still refusing to pay fees charges to each lorry that delivers produce to the market.

The more than 200 traders began their boycott on Wednesday citing poor drainage and sanitation. They have accused county workers of failing to collect garbage at the market.

They say that since the beginning of the rainy season, the market has become inhabitable. Nakuru town East MP David Gikaria and Biashara ward member of the county assembly Stephen Kuria visited the market after the stand off and held consultations with the traders.

The boycott continues a day after Nakuru governor Kinuthia Mbugua defended his government over claims that it was not working noting that the badly maintained markets were a problem they had inherited form the now defunct Nakuru municipal council.

"The county government has already taken over the Wakulima Market, the contract has been signed off between us and the national government, and it's now in our hands. We will finance the remaining Sh8 million to complete it," he said while addressing the press on Wednesday.

The Governor also confirmed several other county approved structures will be opened soon to be utilized by the traders. "The refurbishment of Top Market is almost complete including the free public toilets at Wholesale Market which we will be opening very soon," Kinuthia said.

He said that his government would also be relocating hawkers to Wakulima Market once it is completed where they will have adequate space and a better environment for their businesses.

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