Kisumu’s Uhuru market allocation set to kick off
Thousands of traders displaced from Kisumu Central Business District (CBD), may be allocated stalls at the newly constructed Sh450 million Uhuru Business Park in Kisumu by early next year.
Construction of the new market shades was completed eight months ago, but until today, it has not been possible to allocate traders displaced due to leadership wrangles among the traders.
Uhuru Business Park was built by the national government under the directive of President Uhuru Kenyatta who wanted the affected traders resettled as fast as possible in the city. Now, all is set to change after Kisumu Central Deputy County Commissioner John Cheruiyot called on the traders to visit his office by Friday for final balloting for the stalls.
The balloting of Uhuru Business Park was suspended recently to allow the hearing and determination of a petition filed at the High Court. Last week, Cheruiyot told hundreds of traders who had gathered for balloting that the process stands halted over court order. But now the issue has been amicably resolved.
Consequently, he has invited the beneficiary traders to turn up for final balloting of the stalls to pave way for allocation most likely by early next year once they are done with the allocations.
This saw a section of traders take to the streets of Kisumu to protest against the suspension of the balloting. They demanded to be relocated to the market to continue with their businesses.
Most traders had supported the suspension, saying it would allow county and national government to harmonise the list of beneficiaries to ensure fair sharing of the market spaces.
“We have tried our level best and we hope the traders will co-operate to ensure harmonious balloting and fair distribution of the stalls to those affected without bias,’’ assured Cheruiyot.
Acting City manager Abala Wanga explained that the balloting was halted to allow further consultation on structure and organisation at the market. “This has been done,’’ he said.
Wanga wants only the people who were displaced from the CBD triangle resettled, saying that the process is being fast-tracked so that by latest January, they are done and ready for use.
Most of the affected traders were drawn from Akamba and Winmart, areas adjacent to the newly refurbished traffic way to the revamped Sh3 billion Kisumu Port and Railway line. But some of the affected traders claimed that their names were missing in the initial list that had been published by the county commissioner Josephine Ouko, sparking outrage.
The Kisumu County government moved to court seeking to stop the exercise. Judge Fred Ochieng directed that the status quo be maintained and Wanga is happy the issues have now been redressed. Earlier, the county wanted the planned balloting to be postponed to allow consultation between the county and national governments on allocation of the stalls at the market.
Justice Ochieng said the market, although built by the national government, had been handed over to the county and all its matters can best be resolved by the Country leadership.
To ensure effective and fast resettlement of the would-be beneficiary traders, the two governments must work as a team for a smooth transition. The county leadership, he said, is not opposed to balloting but they want Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o who was at the apex of lobbying for the project to be fused in the project.
The construction of the shades comes at a time the city is also repositioning to host over 10,000 delegates during the Africities conference slated for May next year in Kisumu City.
The park is one of the flagship projects by President Uhuru’s administration that came as a result of a handshake with ODM leader Mr. Raila Odinga.
Already, the market’s perimeter wall rails have been painted with national flag colours. The base has orange colours which is an epitome of the new ODM/Jubilee coalition in the making.
Both President Uhuru and Raila have visited the park while under construction and were impressed with the new artwork and architectural designs. Nyong’o wants them to open the new market early next year ahead of the africities summit.
Many traders in the lakeside city are now eyeing the shades as a number of them are either out of business or operating as hawkers with no permanent stalls.