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Eldoret town eyes City status

Uasin Gishu county governor Jonathan Bii has formed a team to look into the closure of the Eldoret main market even as he blamed the low number of spaces at the facility on frequent conflict.

Mr Bii, alias Koti Moja, noted preliminary findings indicate there are over 4000 traders against the 500 stalls at the market which resulted in frequent conflict.

The county boss explained that an ad hoc committee would listen to grievances through public participation to decide the fate of one of the largest fresh produce markets in the North Rift town.

“I have ordered this market closed so that we ask the residents to tell us what we should do with this market. If we should re-open or close it permanently,” noted the governor.

Traders operating at the market have temporarily located to Kimumu, Kahoya, and Kapseret markets.

The governor added his administration arrested more than 200 people following the fracas reported recently in the town’s central business district.

He claimed some individuals were inciting street families and traders to vandalize and loot individuals’ property and his administration will continue to crack the whip on such individuals.

The governor said that his administration will not tolerate criminal acts in the town as they set sights to attain the city status by pushing for transformation in the town.

“We want to have a proper business environment for our investors. We will continue to restore order in this town because I want during my time, this town to be awarded city status,” he added.

Kapseret/Simat MCA Moses Kibenei backed the governor, noting that the county is to consider closing the market and using the land for the expansion of the public transport terminus to decongest the town.

“We cannot have a town that is not properly planned and we must not use the market for politics. In my opinion, if possible, we bring it down and turn it into a massive car parking lot because parking is a major problem in town,” said the ward representative.

Some traders have complained that the cost of fresh produce had gone up due to the increase in transportation costs when sourcing the produce from the markets since the main market was closed three weeks ago.

The traders called on the county administration to fast-track re-opening of the retail market to enable them to sell their fresh produce and cereals.

“When the wholesale market was closed, we were told it would be opened after a week, the market is still closed. We want to appeal to the county to re-open the market because we are suffering,” Mary Mutiso, fruit vendor at the market said early this month.

The county government closed the market last month after the cart pushers clashed with the county enforcement officers.

The county assembly has embarked on an investigation into the matter and promised to come up with a report.

At the same time, Mr Bii said that his administration had embarked on plans to airlift students to Canada for studies from next year.

“I have discussed with the 10 colleges and we will MOU with the parent and the county and the colleges. Those students sponsored will also have an opportunity to work and study. They will work for 40 hours per week,” added Mr Bii.

The governor also cautioned the members of the public to exercise caution during the festive season to protect lives on the road.

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