More than 20 owners of stalls that were on Saturday night razed down at Jua kali area in Kisumu are seeking for help in reviving their businesses.
The traders have complained that they are neglected as neither the elected leaders nor the county government have come forward with tangible assistance to enable them regain footing, despite numerous pleas.
The fire incident can aptly be described as tough luck for the small traders who disclosed that the tragedy caught them off-guard as they had started making preparations to vacate the land said to belong to the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC).
This is even as they lauded the move by Kisumu Governor, Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o that mediated a consensus with management of AFC to hold a vacate order given on September 13, 2019 for a period of six months to allow for a humane and structured relocation programme.
The small and medium scale entrepreneurs who addressed the Press on Monday as they rummaged through the debris that now remains of what only before the weekend defined their existence stated that the incident has immensely disrupted their lives and are appealing for urgent assistance.
“Most of us have spent a lifetime building these businesses ranging from motor cycle spare parts, gas cylinders and an assortment of metal works,” lamented Michael Okinyi, formerly a motor vehicle spare parts dealer at the market, adding that the tragedy has robbed them of their only sources of livelihoods
The fire that is believed to have started from an explosion caused by stray sparks that were blown to a nearby gas cylinder shop when a guard attempted to burn litter.
It also comes hot in the heels of ongoing mass demolitions reported to have so far displaced more than 10,000 plus small traders in the city from parcels said to be property of the Kenya Railways that are now being cordoned off to pave way for the ongoing expansion of Kisumu port.
The traders may soon be sorted after Governor Nyong’o further unveiled plans to partner with donors in constructing a Sh.2.5 billion small traders’ commercial center to sustainably address the problem.
By Milton Onyango/Atieno Melody