- The traders were promised relocation of the current matatu terminus to near the market as soon as possible to give them more clients.
- But this has not happened, six months down the line.
Traders who were moved from Nyeri's Kamukunji grounds to Field Marshal Muthoni Kirima bus terminus are unhappy, six months after relocating to the new site.
The county government set up stalls at Kamukunji grounds in 2020 to give hawkers who operated along the roads a better operating base .
Some of the traders were, however, opposed to the arrangement as they argued that the stadium had little foot traffic.
The shift to the stadium ended up affecting national holiday celebrations held there, forcing the organisers to host the events at the DEB Muslim Primary School grounds.
This challenge was eventually addressed by the county authorities on July 30, 2023, when it ordered the relocation of over 1,000 traders from the Kamukunji grounds to the Sh700 million modern Field Marshal Muthoni Kirima market.
But Samuel Kamami, chairman of the Asian Quarters Muthoni Kirima Traders Association, says the county government is yet to address some of the challenges they had raised before relocation.
The traders were promised relocation of the current matatu terminus to near the market as soon as possible to give them more clients.
But this has not happened, six months down the line.
“We were promised that our businesses would receive a boost once the main matatu terminus is relocated to this place as there would be more traffic as compared to Kamukunji grounds. This was supposed to have been affected within two weeks, but six months down the line nothing has happened. Traders are now counting losses as very few people are willing to walk to this market due to its long distance from the CBD,” Kamami said.
The trader also faulted the county government for allocating two days only (Saturday and Wednesday) as market days, terming it inadequate to undertake any meaningful business.
He also claimed that many traders who had paid for stalls were yet to open shop owing to bureaucratic procedures, something he said had impacted the relocation negatively.
“We normally operate on Wednesday and Saturday and thereafter close for five days of the week, which translates to lost business. This should not be the case if we are going to boost the income of small businesses in this county,"Kamami said.
"Moreover, some of our members have already paid for their market stalls but cannot open them since the county government is yet to issue them with trading licenses. This means their stalls will remain closed for business even though they have paid for them.”
His sentiments were echoed by Winfred Gitonga who runs a food stall at the new terminus.
She had hoped to cash in on traders and passengers once the terminus became operational but she now feels let down after the county authorities failed to move matatus from the CBD to the site.
The lack of clients has taken a toll on her business and those of her colleagues who feel short-changed by the same government that had promised to enhance their ease of doing business.
The trader also called upon the authorities to erect permanent roofs over their stalls and build cabro walkways to shield both traders and customers against the vagaries of extreme weather.
Gitonga said the national government had pledged some funds for the works.
“When the President came here last year, he promised some funds to the county to help finalise construction of modern walkways and put overhead shades to shield traders from rain and the scorching sun. Unfortunately, the county government is yet to implement this directive leaving buyers and sellers at the mercy of the weather,” she said.
On August 7 last year, Ruto directed the Lands ministry to set aside Sh150 million for upgrading of the Nyeri PSV terminus.
While commissioning the terminus the head of state said the government would ensure traders who were relocated from Kamkunji grounds conducted their business in a conducive environment.
Moses Mwangi, a shoe seller at the new market, sayid the woes facing them lie squarely at the doorstep of the county government.
He said before the relocation, the county government should have first undertaken a public sensitisation forum to inform the people of the planned changes.
But this was never done and many residents of Nyeri are still unaware of the new market.
The new Nyeri bus terminus whose construction began in 2019 for Sh700 million was implemented in two phases by the Nyeri town municipality board.