Protests in Awendo after embezzlement of public funds
26 April 2012, 13:55
Operation was disrupted in Awendo town after thousands of the town's residents took to streets over alleged embezzlement of KES. 200m meant for market project.
The protestors mainly business people accused the council of squandering the money and doing nothing to improve the market's condition which was pathetic and hazardous exposing its users to health risks such contracting diseases like cholera.
"The council has a tendency of squashing public funds with impunity but this time round they have got it wrong," said Joseph Owino, one of the protestors. The protestors also sited the KES. 15m which was to be used in road construction within town two years ago but nothing was done. Instead the council dug trenches along the roads and added some littered with plastic bags then they claimed the money was outsourced.
Towards the end of last year the council demolished all structures in the market place leaving traders in open air with no place to roof their heads during scorching sun or even heavy rains. This has made traders incur heavy losses as they have to ferry their goods to and from the market at the minimum cost KES. 100 depending on size of your goods. The residents have grown impatient of waiting for the commencement of work but four months down the line not even a single step had been made and they were still suffering with the onset of rainy season the situation was worsening.
The protestors marched up to mayor's office where they accused the council officers of harassing them and overcharging for instance the minimum they is KES. 50 for one selling a handful products like "njugu karanga". They termed this exploitation of highest order considering the council over no service in improving the market status and the status quo has remained for the past decade.
In addition the protestors also demanded the number of council workers be streamlined as most of them were just idling and laying heavy on their back to pay forcing the council to raise market dues. The Mayor however assured the protestors that funds were still their and the work had been halted after some people filled a case claiming the land set aside for market construction.
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