Address food traders’ woes urgently
The County government has been in overdrive lately to raise the rates and fees paid for their services.
Governor Evans Kidero has always maintained the county must raise the fees if it is to get the revenue needed to deliver good services.
The latest victims of this campaign are traders operating at the fresh produce markets throughout the county.
They include Toi market in Kibera, Muthurwa, Kangemi, Marikiti and Quarry Road.
The traders who eke out a living there have over the past two days held demonstrations to push the County Government into withholding the new rates.
From past experience, it is unlikely that County Hall will budge. Inevitably, the traders will have no choice but to pass the burden on to the consumer, who will be forced to dig deeper into their pockets to put food on their tables.
Only last month, the High Court gave the County Government the green light to increase parking fees from Sh140 to Sh300.
The judge, Mr Justice Isaac Lenaola, said he was satisfied sufficient consultations had taken place between the county government and we Nairobians, through our elected county ward representatives.
The cost of monthly parking tickets has also shot up, from the current Sh2,000 to Sh5,000 while those on quarterly tickets will have to part with Sh12,000 up from Sh5,500.
Matatu Saccos have since appealed against the ruling but again, from past experience, it looks unlikely they will go far in stopping the changes.
While we appreciate the need for the county to generate revenue, we demand that Dr Kidero and his team nurture the spirit of consultation and concurrence with residents before making such decisions.
Nairobians must be given a chance to participate, if not own, some of these decisions.
That will save everybody the burden of long drawn out and expensive litigation in our courts of law.
It would be sad if the traders make good their threat to keep off the markets. Where will Nairobians get their daily supplies and where will the farmers who supply the city with fresh foods take their produce?
So many people will be affected by such a move. Grandstanding will not help. Sort out the issue before it escalates.