Chaos and confusion marked the second day of relocation of thousands of traders evicted from Kibuye open-air market as they fought for space in smaller markets that have been lying idle for years.
Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o on Monday directed traders be relocated to Kosawo and Kowino markets in Manyatta and Nyalenda slums in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus.
The markets, built with funds from the World Bank, have been unoccupied for nearly two decades after traders shunned them for allegedly being far away from the Central Business District.
On Wednesday, it was survival for the fittest as the traders fought for space in the markets, disregarding social distancing rule.
At Kosawo, the market that was planned for 128 traders was crammed with 3,000 traders.
Without social amenities and water, it’s feared that coronavirus could spread fast at the markets.
Rose Anyolo, who claimed to have been evicted from Kibuye market, said she has been chased away from any market she moves to and harassed by other traders.
“The county enforcement officers have been going around chasing us from any point we settle to sell our products. This is unacceptable,” Ms Anyolo said.
She complained that her Sh10,000 grocery stock had gone bad.
Another trader, Mary Agalo, said traders were risking their lives and that of their families by cramming in markets with poor hygiene.
“Without a better alternative market, it will be hard to fend for our families. We are stranded with nowhere to go,” she said.
Kondele MCA Joachim Oketch confirmed that in the past two days, the markets have been overwhelmed as they lack enough toilets and water supply.
Mr Oketch noted some traders opposed to the relocation have been causing chaos and commotions in the markets,
He said his office had advised all traders selling foodstuff to move to Migosi market.
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However, he said it’s important that governor Nyong’o speed up the process of creating a larger space at Kisumu Stadium which can accommodate more traders and enhance social distancing.
Nyalenda MCA Jackton Ojwang said considering the urgency to contain coronavirus, all traders must adhere to the temporary measures of moving to the few selected closed markets.
“They should avoid propaganda and understand that these measures have been taken to protect them from the virus,” said Mr Ojwang.
County Director of Communication Aloise Ager said county officials were enforcing Public Health Act by ensuring that only traders selling foodstuff get space in the closed markets.
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