Kenya: Opening of Wakulima Market in Eastlands Delayed Again

The opening of the newly built Sh868 million Wakulima Market on Kangundo Road is set to delay again, more than 16 months after its completion.

This is after officials from both the national government and Nairobi County government said there are some adjustment works being done at the two-storey market before it is handed over.

Construction of the fresh produce market began four years ago before its completion around December, 2019.

Speaking during an inspection tour of the project yesterday, Nairobi County Trade CEC Winfred Gathagu said the contractor is currently working on some minor amendments at the market before it is unveiled.

However, she could not tell when the market will be opened to the more than 2,500 traders, saying it could take weeks or even months.

"We expect the contractor to be done with the changes within weeks before leaving the site. Thereafter, we will open the market to traders. However, I cannot tell the specific date of the unveiling," said Ms Gathagu.

The Trade CEC said the inspection tour was to ascertain the state of the market as they "want to deliver a project that people can be proud of and that will not need any alterations thereafter".

She, nonetheless, explained that already a multi-agency team has been set-up to work on the allocation criteria with 900 traders that had been relocated from the project site to be given first priority during the allocation process.

The team consists of officers from the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS), Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) and the county government.

"The multi-agency team will come up with a criteria to ensure the allocation process is smooth, fair and transparent," she said.

She highlighted the importance of the market saying it will benefit traders in the area by creating a safe and clean place to conduct business.

Construction of the market, which began in 2018, was funded by the World Bank and was meant to compensate small-scale traders who were displaced during the construction of the Outering-Kangundo Road.

The market, located in Embakasi West sub-County, has 158 lockable stalls and other spaces for business that are not stall-oriented, shower blocks on each floor as well as external washrooms, and four water storage tanks with a capacity of 10,000 litres and two more underground ones with a capacity of 900,000 litres.

Mowlem ward MCA Benson Mwangi said the market will benefit roadside traders who were affected by the road construction project as well as improving business environment in the area and beyond.

"We have seen tremendous change in this area due to the construction of the Kangundo market, a fire station and a biodigester," said Mr Mwangi.

The market is among four other markets in Nairobi that have been constructed at close to Sh2 billion with others including Westlands Market, Karandini Market, Kware Road Market and Mwariro Market.

The Sh389 million Mwariro Market, located in Starehe sub-County, is a six-storey building with 360 stalls, where 318 will be allocated to the original traders and the remaining 42 stalls will be through ballot.

Karandini Market in Dagoretti South, which is a two-storey building has 204 stalls put up at a cost of Sh294 million while Sh214 million Westlands Market will accommodate about 3,000 traders.

On the other hand, phase one of the Sh493 million Gikomba Market is already complete awaiting occupancy.

Acting County Secretary Dr Jairus Musumba said all five markets will have officially been opened by June this year.

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