It was all smiles and jubilations after the Kisumu County Government initiated the process of opening up the expansive and spacious Uhuru Business Park Market Complex for the formerly displaced hawkers to sell their wares.
According to Abala Wanga, the Acting City Manager, plans are at an advanced stage to open up the newly built Uhuru market and transform it into an active place for doing business.
“The traders must first occupy the place, showcase and provide their products and services to the general populace for some time before it can be commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta,” Wanga said.
Speaking during a sensitization event for the traders at the market premises Thursday, the Ag. City Manager while underlining the need to fairly allocate stalls to the traders, he reiterated that only those whose biometrics and names were published in the Kenya Gazette will be given the first priority to occupy.
“This will be supervised and coordinated by the yet to be formed Market Management Committee and the County Trade Department,” he stressed out.
A position was affirmed by the Director of Trade, Bolvince Ochieng, who promised transparent allocation of the trading slots will be given out free of charge.
Ochieng also lauded the traders for having been patient and positively hopeful for a safe and secure working environment.
“There shall be no collection of any funds towards the allocation of the stalls from our Departmental officers and any other person,” he said, while urging the traders to report to the arresting authorities and his office anyone found engaging in such vice.
Wanga further enlisted some of the already built markets in the city like Chichwa 1 and 2, and Maendeleo, the ongoing constructions in Kibuye, Mowlem-Nyamasaria, Otonglo and K-City, which is earmarked for the shoe traders currently found next to the Kisumu Boys High School).
On the eagerly awaited completion of Kibuye market this December, he said that it will be further extended and ready by the end of March, 2022. He added that Phase 1 will end in January while the traders’ settlement will be done in April, next year.
The construction of Uhuru Market began in 2019 and is set to accommodate more than 2,000 displaced traders and will include those in Apindi street and Nyamlori area.
Tobias Kwach, the Kisumu Traders Associations’ Chairman, while addressing the gathering called for the support of the settlement process by all the stakeholders and politicians.
He also commended the construction of the market by the National and County governments led by Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o.
Echoing similar sentiments, Tabitha Ougo, Winmart Traders Group Chairperson, said there was need to have a concerted and united approach towards attaining a smooth and peaceful transition.
Other traders present were those formerly located in Lwangni beach, Akamba Bus Area, Winmart, Upper Railways and Somali Group among others.
Wanga said that they have signed a lease agreement with Kenya Railways to now proceed and start the process of managing Uhuru Business Market, adding that they are also in the process of setting up a joint committee with Kenya Railways to manage the facility.