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January 20, 2019

Traders reject town decongestion plans

Traders at the Qorahey market yesterday/STEPHEN ASTARIKO
Traders at the Qorahey market yesterday/STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Smallscale traders at Qorahey market in Garissa town yesterday opposed the county government’s move to relocate them in a decongestion plan.

The traders accused county leaders of having an ill motive in the new plan, which they say might not end well. Trader Sahan Adhan said there are plans to remove them so other traders can take their spaces. 

Adhan said if the county is genuine, the traders should be moved to a spot closer to the town with adequate security. Trader Ifrah Mohamed said the county government ought to handle the matter with care since those affected are vulnerable members of society.

“We are not opposed to upgrading the market, but we don’t want to be relocated and the places taken over by others. We also pay rent.”

But not all traders are opposed to the move. Some like Abdi Mohamed, who sells clothes, welcomed the plan, saying it will go a long way to decongest the market.

“People should stop misleading others that we will be kicked out. I don’t think the county officials can decide to remove us from one place and not give us an alternative place,” Abdi said.

Garissa governor Ali Korane on Tuesday last week announced plans to upgrade the market. He said some of the 500 traders have encroached on road reserves,  making it difficult for traffic to flow freely. The governor said the county administration will involve traders in the market upgrade.

“We want the traders to form their committee so that we involve them in every step. Many of you [traders] have been hit by speeding vehicles because the market is so congested. We are appealing for your cooperation,” Korane said. 

Lands executive Mohamed Shale said the traders will be registered first to know their exact number before moving them. “We want to dispel rumours that the county will remove traders from the market ... we are mindful of the welfare of our people,” Shale said.

Traders mostly sell vegetables and clothes in the open air market.

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