Traders with stalls but hawk on Kisumu streets to be arrested, charged

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Traders still hawking on Kisumu streets despite being allocated stalls at Chichwa market will be arrested and prosecuted, city manager Abala Wanga has warned.

The traders have until the end of this month to vacate the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Triangle.

Wanga said more than 500 traders have been allocated stalls at the Sh37 million Chichwa market, but some have opted to continue hawking on the streets.

The hawkers, he said, are selling their wares on pavements and pathways, thereby obstructing pedestrians.

Wanga, who spoke during a local radio interview on Saturday, said they will seize their wares, arrest and charge any trader who defies the directive.

“We must have order and sanity in the city. We cannot operate like we are in the jungle. Even in the jungle, the animals are a bit organised,” he said.

The county government will also repossess stalls given to stubborn hawkers and reallocate them to more deserving traders.

Wanga said they will also take back a few stalls that are yet to be occupied.

He said some defiant traders have been displaying their wares on fences, perimeter walls and paths.

“We have rules and they must be obeyed. A city must be clean and not look like we are in a bush,” he said.

Most of those hawking on the streets have rented out their stalls to other traders. They include those from Jubilee market.

Wanga said Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o is committed to ensuring all traders who were affected by demolition to pave the way for non-motorised transport (NMT) get space.

Some 1,190 traders were affected by the demolition. The NMT covers Ang’awa Street, Oginga Odinga Street, and Jomo Kenyatta Avenue. 

He said they will ensure that traders who did not get stalls at Chichwa market are settled in Uhuru Business Complex Park. The park is being constructed at a cost of more than Sh350 million.

It has 10,000 stalls ready for occupancy.

Nyong’o commissioned Chichwa on May 20, 2020 but allocation was delayed to allow his administration to vet traders.

Chichwa market is a component of the Sh241 million non-motorised transport project, which is meant to ensure pedestrians and cyclists enjoy improved convenience, comfort and safety.

It was meant for those who were relocated within the NMT facility corridor. The stalls accommodate 518 traders and an open-air section for 240 traders.

Wanga said construction is nearing completion. It is funded by the World Bank through the State Department of Urban Development under the Kenya Urban Support Programme.

Chichwa has essential facilities, including water reticulation, electricity, spacious stalls, security services, controlled trading areas and an environment for enhanced hours of trading.

The market also has three ultra-modern ablution blocks.

“With this kind of development, we are not only offering our traders dignified environment to operate from but also sustainably structuring our revenue streams,” Nyong’o said.

The initiative, he said, will provide security to small traders and help them access financial support offered by various institutions and the government.

“It is aimed at easing the congestion of street vendors on road reserves of most of the central business district roads within Kisumu city,” Wanga said.

The NMT project offers basic mobility, affordable transport and access to public transport and health benefits.

It also targets improving the convenience, comfort and safety of those walking and cycling, thereby reducing the demand for travel by private motorists.

It also encourages walking and cycling in a bid to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It will ease congestion by reducing the number of boda boda riders and vendors in the city.

Other benefits of the project include alleviation of critical traffic challenges facing many cities and zero-emission modes. 

On public transport, Wanga said boda boda and tuktuk operators have also turned pathways and pavements into parking spaces, adding that the trend must end.

He said the county would impound and tow them to the works yard. Wanga said operators must have order and operate only in designated areas.

“When these people park on pathways, pedestrians are put at risk as they are forced to use main roads which should not be the case, “he said.

Wanga said plans are underway to adopt a modern Rwanda transport system to help restore sanity and order in the public transport sector.

Upon adoption, boda boda operators will be blocked from accessing some areas in the city as they will have a GPS system that will enable them to connect with customers.

Edited by A.N