Kenya: Business at Standstill as Traders Protest Construction of Kiosks on Top of Sewer

Busia — Business came to a halt at Port Victoria market after 300 traders protested Busia county government officials’ move to construct kiosks on top of a sewer system.

Led by their coordinator Benson Situbi, secretary Joseph Owoko, and business lady Zipora Daban, the traders faulted Ojaamong government for reneging on the agreement signed on 28th February 2022 to stop the construction.

They blamed tycoons for erecting structures on prohibited areas and demanded that the project be stopped immediately.

“We wrote a letter containing our grievances to the sub-county administrator, and copied the same to the Chief Officer trade, but we have not received any reply so far,” said Situbi.

He added that construction had taken place at an area designated for waste disposal, against their wish. This, according to Situbi, was exposing the traders to health risks. Situbi appealed to the county government to intervene in the matter.

Zipora Daban, a salonist in the market decried the demolition of a dustbin designated for waste disposal, adding that a building had been erected on top of the drainage system.

“We are demonstrating to express our dissatisfaction about how our plight has been handled by the county government. We demand for speedy intervention,” said Zipora.

Joseph Owoko cited the concerted effort the traders have put employed to resolve the stalemate without a forthcoming conclusion.

“We are demonstrating because all other mechanisms to resolve our issues have failed. We feel the county government is taking as for granted,” said Owoko, adding that they would continue with demonstrations till an amicable solution is reached.

In a meeting with the media outside the market, the traders decried the heavy tax burden imposed to them by the county government. They asserted that their woes are compounded by demands to pay monthly salaries for two security officials belonging to Ojaamong government.

The traders complained that since the inauguration of the market in 2013, there is no clean water and consistent power supply, all attributed to the county government’s failure to pay utility bills.

Efforts by members of the press to get a comment from county officials hit a snug when it was discovered that their office was closed, and they were observing traders’ demonstrations 30metres away from the venue.

When reached on phone, West Bunyala MCA Bartholomew Taabu Were promised to engage the sub-county administrator Nelson Otando to stop the illegal construction.

Bunya market was constructed in 2013 by Busia County government with a capacity of 300 traders. However, the market is in a deplorable condition owing to neglect by the county government. – Kna

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