Kiosk operators in Siaya town have vowed to resist attempts by the county government to kick them out of town, demanding to be shown alternative sites to conduct business.
According to the small scale traders who have been issued with notices to vacate their current premises, they will not accept to demolish their structures until the devolved government comes up with a proper relocation plan.
Speaking to the media in Siaya town during a meeting with senior county government officials, the traders, led by Hillary Oduor and Oduor Magawa accused the county government of persistent harassment despite collecting revenue from them.
“We have witnessed a trend since 2017 where the county government targets us for harassment anytime they feel like,” said Magawa adding that this time they are not going to take the harassment lying down.
He said that as tax payers who contribute up to 75% of the county government’s local revenue, the small traders demand respect and challenged the county government leadership to sit down with them to chat the way forward.
“We demand for a forum with the county government where they should come up with information and facts on how and where they want the kiosks to be built to end persistent harassment,” said Oduor.
The Acting Chief Officer for Lands, Walter Okello had a rough time trying to explain to the traders why they had to move out of the town.
Okello had to brave heckling as he failed to give a commitment that a demolition notice will be withdrawn, saying that he had to consult with his seniors over the matter.
The Siaya township ward member of the county assembly, Obiero Otare who was in attendance called for a sober approach to the issue, adding that the county government should sit down with the traders and chart the best way forward.
Otare said that the business community in Siaya town will not take lightly the demolition of their structures, warning that they may be forced to retaliate by disrupting the Lake Region Economic Block conference that is scheduled to be held in the county in August this year.
The Siaya county government has, through the department of lands and physical planning, issued eviction notices to kiosk owners to remove them from the town, saying that they contravened the physical planning act.
By Philip Onyango