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Muthurwa a pale shadow of initial plan

When the former President Mwai Kibaki opened Muthurwa  market in December 2007, many believed it was the beginning of order in the city’s trading centres. They were wrong.

Today the market stands out for chaos, filth and rampant crime. It is a complete turn-off for any decent person thinking of doing business there. And yet Muthurwa was sold as a model trading zone for Nairobi.

Traffic congestion

The market was also expected to ease traffic congestion in the city centre by providing a terminus for all public service vehicles from Eastlands.

Barely six years later, the market that cost Sh700 million to put up has actually created more chaos than it was anticipated to resolve.

The market is filled with huge mounds of garbage and waste water flows freely. The market’s perimeter wall has been turned into urinals, where people relieve themselves at every corner.

A spot check by Nairobi News revealed that despite the traders paying rates to the county authorities, the provision of basic services such as clean and running water have remained elusive. Garbage is a common problem experienced in Nairobi’s other markets such as Wakulima and Burma.

There is nothing resembling the grandiose plans of the market in 2007. It was planned to be a 24-hour market well-served with water, restrooms, lighting, a hospital, a police station, multi-storied stalls, a bank and administration offices.

The market is a crowded mess with matatus jostling for parking spaces on dusty and muddy roads, amid burst sewers, pickpockets and lack of clean water.

The hawkers contribute to the stinky chaos that has become synonymous with the market.

Mary Mwangi, who sells fresh produce, said the traders walk to Machakos bus station to use the toilets there.

“The toilets you see here stopped functioning a long time ago. We have complained to the council, but nothing has been forthcoming,” she laments.

Hygiene and order

On a closer look, the markets is congested as a result of not being designed to hold a large number of people and goods, thus making it almost impossible to maintain hygiene and order.

“The way this market was designed to operate flopped because of poor management by the county authority,” said Moses Onchuri, a tout.

“This is one of the biggest government projects that were allowed to flop. It is now an eye sore and a health risk to its daily users,” he says.