- Addressing journalists at Grace Onyango social centre, Wanga said those who raided the offices were hooligans and not traders.
- He condemned the incident and termed it an act of thuggery.
Kisumu City manager Abala Wanga has denied that traders stormed his office and that of governor Anyang Nyongó on Thursday. https://bit.ly/42kELgQ
Kisumu City manager Abala Wanga has denied that traders stormed his office and that of governor Anyang Nyongó on Thursday.
Addressing journalists at Grace Onyango social centre, Wanga said those who raided the offices were hooligans and not traders.
He condemned the incident and termed it an act of thuggery.
On Thursday morning, a group of rowdy people, some carrying twigs, amongst other things, stormed City Hall.
They forced their way into the building that houses the city manager's manager office, that of the governor and other departmental officers through the back gate.
They caught the staff working at the building unaware and many who had reported to work had to scamper to safety.
The rioting group accessed the office of the city boss chanting slogans against him.
Others were heard shouting while demanding answers over the demolition of a gate and a toilet at Nyamlori Market on Wednesday night.
The city authorities had given a one-month notice to traders operating at Nyamlori, alongside those that are at Apindi street, Garrisa Lodge areas and Winam Booksellers to move to the Uhuru business market complex.
The notice issued on February 20, was to expire yesterday.
On Wednesday night a toilet and the main gate at Nyamlori were brought down.
It is not clear who carried out the demolitions but protesters who stormed City Hall on Thursday accused the city authorities.
According to Abala, the protestors whom he described as goons descended on his office, destroying flower pots and water pipes at the facility.
"The hoodlums who raided my office and that of the governor were not traders. None of them own stalls there, " he said.
Abala noted that the police have launched an investigation into the matter and those who were involved will be dealt with firmly.
"I was forced to hide in the toilet. They moved in precision. This was a meticulously planned attack. They moved in fast and by the time the police arrived, they had moved out leaving behind a trail of destruction," he said.
The city manager who said the mass resettlement of traders at Nyamlori, Garrisa Lodge, Apindi street and Win Nam Booksellers won't stop noted that the process has been infiltrated by a cartel which he vowed to deal ruthlessly with.
"Genuine traders have no problem with the process but we have a problem with a cartel that had built stalls at Nyamlori Market and rented them out to traders," he said.
"This cartel is hitting back because they fear their livelihoods are being disrupted by the resettlement. Some of the traders that were renting their premises have been given spaces at the Uhuru business complex," he said.
Abala said that they have information that the same cartel has been collecting money from traders who use the toilet at Nyamlori that was demolished on Wednesday night.
He said traders at Nyamlori were the first group of traders who were given stalls at the Uhuru market which was constructed at Sh500 million.
"90 percent of those traders have moved and even finished constructing their stalls at the new market," he noted.
He said a few went to court to ask for more time but the court asked the parties to settle the matter out of court.
"We have been having meetings with this group. Last week we met with their lawyer. We are still discussing with them but even this group have no problem relocating, they are only asking for a bit of time to construct stalls at the spaces offered at the new market," he said.
The city manager noted that they want Kisumu to be an organised city.
"The traders know that they have been occupying the spaces where they are temporarily. Some are operating on top of sewer lines, others on drainages while others are contesting roads," he said.
He distanced the city authorities from the demolitions that took place at Nyamlori on Wednesday night.
"We are not in the business of destroying toilets or any such utility. If we have to move traders, we speak to their leaders and take whatever action during the day," he added.
"Kisumu traders normally move out of their own volition. We simply talk to them. We did so with jubilee traders and even with those at Maendeleo market," he said.