272 second hand clothes traders at Chanuka market in Kitale town have demolished their stalls in line with a vacation notice by the Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA) that seeks to construct a carriage.
The carriage which is part of the 45 Kitale-Suam Highway will stretch from Alakara Hotel all the way to Jamia Mosque at Laini moja and is aimed at decongesting traffic in the town which has been faced with expansion plans.
The traders are however disappointed saying the vacation is a huge disruption to their businesses yet they are faced with the high cost of living that has seen some of them secure loans in a bid to boost their businesses.
“The county government is supposed to have provided an alternative space for us to operate our businesses. We have complied with the vacation notice but we have no clue of where we are moving to,” said Kepha Tundwe.
They said they are not comfortable with relocating to markets in the outskirts of Kitale town saying it will affect their sales since most of their clients come to town in search of the commodities they sell and not the other way round.
“Customer behavior for items like clothes is that clients come to town in search of them. We will lose a lot if we move out of town since very few are likely to follow us in the outskirts in search of clothes,” said Mr. Peter Andiva
A section of members of the area County assembly (Francis Were, James Mwangi and Tabitha Waruguru) toured the market and said they will have an engagement with area Governor George Natembeya with a view to providing them alternative space.
“We are in support of development but we also wish that those who have been displaced as a result of the vacation notice are given an alternative space from which to operate from while conducting their businesses,’ said Mr. Were.
Governor Natembeya is said to have launched a bid to have the Kenya Railways Corporation to lease part of its land within the town to accommodate the affected traders as his administration seeks for a lasting solution.