Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director-General, Mohamed Badi, has postponed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s development tour scheduled for March 2021 after rifts emerged over the multi-million project.
Uhuru was set to unveil the Ksh 500 million new Gikomba market but was forced to delay the plans after traders clashed with authorities over space allocation and bribery accusations.
Sources at NMS revealed that Badi is keen on solving the issue and put the tour on hold as he puts in place measures to sort out the ongoing crisis.
However, NMS Communication Director, Rose Gakuo, declined to comment on the development only stating that Gikomba handover is under the State Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Traders raised concerns over bias, accusing community leader Simon Wanjohi of demanding Ksh 100,000 bribe to be allocated space.
They further claimed that he was prioritising new traders over those who lost property in several fire incidents in 2020.
“We were told that the market will be launched soon.”
“But we are yet to understand how the limited spaces will be allocated.”
“We only hear some people have already been given stalls while we, the previous settlers, have been disregarded,” a trader lamented.
Housing Principal Secretary, Charles Hinga and Wanjohi refuted the allegations, clarifying that the government had already gazetted traders who will occupy the new blocks based upon the recommendation of the market leaders.
Wanjohi said that they will not be derailed in the project gifted to them by Kenyatta after years of turmoil and losses.
Uhuru had cautioned leaders against inciting the traders and advocated for equality and fairness in the allocation of stalls.
The President directed authorities to resettle the original traders before distributing the rest through an open ballot.
The market is expected to offer a solution to the perennial fires at the makeshift market over the past years.
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