Traders in Kitengela will have to wait longer to move into the newly constructed Kitengela market.
To ease their inconvenience, Governor Joseph Ole Lenku has waived the Sh30 daily levies that the traders pay to the county government.
“We thank the traders for their patience but unfortunately, we couldn’t open the market today as expected due to some repairs that are beyond our control. Due to the delay, I have scrapped the daily levy of Sh30 for three months until the market is opened,” he said.
The governor noted that the delay was caused by lack of parking areas in the market for both traders and customers, which may lead to unnecessary congestion in the market.
The two-storey building which was constructed at a cost of Sh120 million has the capacity to hold up to 900 traders and features modern amenities such as proper lighting inside the building and outside as well as washrooms to serve the traders and customers.
“We are thankful for the levy fee that has been lifted by the Governor as we await the opening of the market. That money can now be used elsewhere especially now that we are facing tough economic times,” said Peter Makau, a trader in the area.
“We have waited for the market to be opened for a long time now since construction was done. It will be able to protect us from the rainy season as well as provide us proper shade during the dry season. We hope that once it is opened business is made easier and we don’t get interference from cartels,” said Mama Grace, a fishmonger in the area.
Kitengela has over 700 registered traders, but the number has been increasing and with lack of a market to purvey their commodities, most traders occupy any open space they find while others operate beside the busy Namanga highway causing traffic jams.
Residents have urged the county government to expedite the repairs so that the market can become operational and help decongest the road where the market is located, enabling easy traffic.
“During the evenings, it is very hard to drive due to the traders who have occupied the roads but we are hopeful they will be relocated soon to ease movement,” said Dan Mwendo, a resident in the area.
Streetlights within the town’s Central Business District (CBD) have also facilitated the traders to extend working hours, with most closing business between 8pm and 9pm.
Most of the traders in Kitengela deal in fresh produce as well as second hand clothes.
Construction of the market began in 2019 and it was expected to be completed in 12 months.
Governor Lenku, who was addressing the traders in Kitengela while on the campaign trail, pledged to build another public hospital in the area to decongest Saitoti Sub County Hospital once re-elected.
He also said that he will ensure that the market will have adequate water.
By Vivian Mbinya