KISUMU, Kenya, Jul 21 – The ongoing facelift of Kisumu Central Business District has faced opposition from a section of informal sector traders in the lakeside city who have condemned the demolitions of structures encroaching road reserves as inhumane.
The Sh250 million World Bank-sponsored beautification project is ongoing with Jomo Kenyatta Avenue, Oginga Odinga and Ang’awa streets among infrastructure in the city set to be remodeled.
Joshua Nyamori, the Lake Basin Professional Caucus coordinator Saturday said the intention to clean up the city is welcomed but the process is inhumane.
Nyamori believes that the ongoing demolitions will impoverish informal sector traders to more poverty.
He said the traders should first be given alternative space to continue with their businesses uninterrupted.
“The approach by the Kisumu county government to demolish the structures won’t help since they will move to other open areas which are not designated,” he said.
Nyamori said the mushrooming of hawkers and informal traders in Kisumu town and various sub counties is a sign of failure by government to put in place policies that would support the creation of employment opportunities.
“I believe that the county Government of Kisumu under Governor Prof Anyang Nyong’o would have done better before undertaking the eviction exercise,” he said.
He noted that thousands of people in Kisumu depend on the informal trade for their daily needs.
Nyamori said the traders are giving daily rates to the revenue department and should be treated with some decorum.
The Nyong’o-led administration had in the past given a notice to traders who had encroached on road reserves and sewer lines to move out ahead of a major facelift.
City Manager Doris Ombara had said the funds from World Bank were to be used to improve the rundown drainage system and support the modernization of the city.
Nyamori however said the county government must find a lasting solution to the mushrooming of kiosks in the lakeside city.
He opined that agricultural sector in the sub-counties must be rejuvenated to attract the attention of young people migrating to the city.
“The city is filling up and urban employment is steadily growing into a crisis,” he said.
Nyamori told the county government of Kisumu not to be in a hurry to get rid of informal traders from the CBD before finding them an alternative site.
He said the county must come up with sound mechanisms on how best to improve the status of satellite towns around the city to absorb the swelling population in Kisumu.
“Come up with a coherent framework that would create an appropriate rural urban economic balance and create and expand small scale labour intensive industry in the sub counties,” he said.
The battle to drive out informal traders from the major streets in Kisumu has not been a walk in the park.
During the pioneer Governor Jack Ranguma’s tenure, it was a running battle between traders and city askaris.
The county government has in the past directed the traders to move in and occupy other markets built by the World Bank but have remained unused.
The markets are spread across the city in the estates of Migosi, Manyatta and Nyalenda.