Kiambu: Traders' row over occupation of KSh300m World Bank market intensify

for Tv47 Digital November 13, 2022, 08:38 AM
Ruiru market
Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi when he toured the Ruiru market on Saturday. PHOTO/TV47 DIGITAL

In Summary

  • The market built by the World Bank built at a cost of KSh300 million to improve the business environment among citizens. 
  • Traders allocated stalls within the market are embroiled in a dispute with those operating from outside. 

The row over the occupation of the newly-constructed Ruiru market in Kiambu County has intensified after a meeting convened by Governor Kimani Wamatangi yesterday failed to resolve a brewing standoff among rival traders.

The market built by the World Bank built at a cost of KSh300 million to improve the business environment among citizens has been at the centre of a row between traders who have been allocated stalls and those who've been selling their wares along the streets.

While those allocated the stalls -through ballots are crying foul over loss of business from 'outside' traders, their equal opposites say they were shortchanged since the market has two unoccupied floors which would've accommodated them.

During a heated meeting outside the market -and which ended in disarray-, at least 1,000 small-scale traders who were forced to sell their wares outside the market claimed unfair treatment in the allocation of space despite having been promised otherwise.

They say fewer than 600 traders were allocated space inside the new market. This has left the majority of them struggling to sell their merchandise under a scorching sun and sometimes, heavy rains.

Irked by their recent eviction from the streets to reduce competition, the informal traders sought allocation of space inside the market to stop back-and-forth confrontations between vendors and County officers.

On the other hand, those selling their commodities inside the market claim they have been selling nothing as their potential customers are taken away by those hawking items outside the market.

Instead of the market bettering their incomes, the traders led by Wambui Ndichu and Lucy Njoki decried that the completion and operationalisation of the modern market has worsened their earning patterns.

They are rooting for the accommodation of all traders in the closed market to enable them  compete fairly. 

Governor Wamatangi said the market was poorly designed and therefore, was turning away potential customers instead of attracting them.  

He said he will ensure all markets constructed in the County in future will be accommodative in design. 

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