A peaceful demonstration by women traders in Kisumu turned chaotic after their attempts to seek audience with the City Mayor were thwarted by council askaris who blocked them, prompting the women to pelt stones at the officers.
The traders mainly from Jubilee Municipal Market were protesting the municipality’s decision to increase stall levy and license fees when they attempted to forcefully enter the town hall to air their grievances to the mayor, only to meet tough talking security officers manning the entry. A stone throwing tussle ensued, leaving one askari badly injured.
The irate traders resorted to camp in front of the Town Hall, vowing not to relent until they were heard by the mayor who was not in.
They allege that the city council has increased the levies by over 100 percent; with a business license being raised to KES.10, 000 from the previous KES. 4,000 and the monthly stall charges shooting from KES. 450 to KES. 900.
The traders claim that the municipality has also introduced parking charges to their customers with vehicles, thereby scaring them away to markets which offer free parking services.
"Our groceries are going stale on the stalls and we don’t know whom to sell them to since we no longer have customers as they fear being levied the parking charges. The new levies imposed on us by the council does not commensurate with the services they offer us", said Mr. Martin Odhiambo, Jubilee United Market Chairperson.
Among other complaints they had included the poor sanitation of the market, poor drainage, lack of security in the market and the closure of the informal Oile market which local authority label as illegal.
Attempts by Kisumu Town Clerk, Christopher Rosana to address them turned futile as they endlessly heckled him forcing him to arrange for an indoor meeting with the traders representatives to reach an amicable solution.
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