Traders protest re-building of kiosks in Kisumu CBD

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The business stall that was reinstalled within Kisumu Business District being demolished by Kisumu City manager Abala Wanga on March 31 2021. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

A deal by a local investor and Kisumu County Government to put up container kiosks where traders were evicted a few weeks ago has ended up in disarray.

Using a bulldozer, the city authorities were forced to pull down 30 kiosks that had already been installed to quell traders who had taken to the streets in protest.

Property worth millions of shillings was destroyed as the city authorities under the command of city manager Abala Wanga demolished the container kiosks at the Akamba bus stop.

Standard Digital established that the local investor, Mr Newton Demabior was awarded the tender by the city board to install the kiosks but moved to the ground without the county government’s approval.

Demabior disclosed that he was allowed to erect the kiosks across several designated spaces within the CBD and had invested Sh80 million in the project, which according to the city board specifications were to be branded with County colour codes.

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”So far I had installed about 30 and was in the process of installing more before the city authorities reversed the order,” the Kiosks contractor claimed.

He told the media that he had invested about Sh80 million in the container kiosks,

A bulldozer demolishing the reinstalled stalls at Kisumu Business District after residents took to the streets in protest of the reinstallation. [Collins Oduor]

City manager, Mr Abala Wanga confirmed that the area government had indeed awarded the investor the tender after advertising an expression of interest but started the job before Kisumu residents were sensitized to the project.

“The contractor has declined to respond to our calls to work together in the last six months. He has been doing his things by illegally erecting the kiosks on wayleaves and road reserves,” Wanga said about the containers that were installed on Tuesday night.

They were put up in an area belonging to a parastatal that had agreed with the county government to be used as a parking lot for port users.

In the kiosks deal, the government led by Governor Anyang Nyong’o was to provide land and the investor to pay a monthly fee of Sh500 per stall. A 40-feet container was to accommodate four stalls but the investor had divided it into five.

“He was to pay an incentive of the ground to the county. For instance, if a stall was Sh2,000 per month, the county was to get Sh500,” said Wanga, adding that the county was to control the charges.

However, in the incident that saw some of the businessmen who had rented stall lose millions of shillings, Demabior was charging between Sh15,000 to Sh40,000 per stall.

Traders who recently lost their kiosks in a demolition that was conducted by the city authorities stormed the new kiosks questioning why the investor was allowed to erect the containers in the same area they had been evicted from.

Led by Faustine Omondi, Ocholla Kamili and Milton Obote, the traders demanded the containers are removed or they pull them down themselves.

“We want to know why the kiosks are being reintroduced in the city, yet they were removed with authorities saying they were an eyesore to the city beautification programme,” said Omondi.

Kisumu City manager Abala Wanga while leading the demolition of Business stalls that were reinstalled within Kisumu Business District on March 31 2021. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

The traders asked governor Anyang Nyong’o administration to uphold its resolve to rid the city of the roadside kiosks.

“Why must we go back to the same state where we were before the hundreds of roadside kiosks were demolished, if we are truly committed to ensuring the city returns to sanity,” posed Obote.

Chanting Nyong’o must go! Nyong’o must go! , the traders demanded that sanity be upheld but without compromising the aesthetic value and building standards.

Police in anti-riot gear dashed to the scene and cordoned off Akamba bus stop, and Telkom House, where the protesting traders had gathered to demonstrate against the newly erected kiosks.

Kisumu Central OCPD John Nyamu restrained the officers from lobbying tear gas canisters to avoid a commotion. 

Some of the owners of the new kiosks watched in disbelief as their property went down. Some cried wondering where to turn to after they parted with Sh40,000 to get new space to do business.

A computer accessories vendor suffered losses as hundreds of youth who trailed Wanga with the bulldozer in tow, ran away with some of his laptops and computers.

Some of the affected traders told  Standard Digital that they were not aware of the mid-morning demolitions which caught them by surprise as there were no prior notices issued.

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