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Open ballot policy to be used to allocate spaces in 5 new city markets


The government has announced that the open ballot policy will be used to allocate to traders market spaces in the five newly-constructed markets in Nairobi County.

The new markets are Mwariro, Westlands, Gikomba, Karandini and New Wakulima which have been constructed at a cost of Sh2.2 billion.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last week said the traders who had previously occupied the markets will be given first priority once he commissions the markets.

Thereafter, the remaining slots will be distributed through an open ballot, which will be supervised by government officials.

Further, the president warned city politicians against inciting the public to illegally occupy the five new markets.

“Soon I will come here and open Mwariro market but I don’t want to see any incitement on who will occupy these markets. We want to have a fair process to ensure that everyone will have equal opportunity to occupy the stores,” said President Kenyatta.

The new markets, once opened, will help decongest the current city markets with most traders in the capital grappling with lack of enough space to sell their wares.

Nairobi currently has 20 open-air and 23 large markets which are not enough for the huge population of merchants in the capital city.

Many Nairobi traders have fallen prey to conmen promising them market stalls prompting Nairobi County Assembly’s Trade committee to raise alarm over the issue.

In 2018, committee chairperson Charles Thuo raised similar concerns after his committee visited the New Wakulima Market finding residents camping at the entrance, claiming they had paid in order to be allocated space inside the market.

The committee recommended setting up of a joint committee to come up with a list of traders to be allocated spaces as well as establish the mechanism by which traders will be selected and how the markets will be operated.

The New Wakulima Market, located along Kangundo Road will accommodate about 4,000 traders mostly drawn from Wakulima Market along Haile Selassie Avenue who will be relocated to pave way for the construction of a viaduct.

The Sh800 million project is located in Mowlem, Embakasi West, and is funded by the African Development Bank.

The overpass will link Enterprise Road to Central Business District passing over the Nairobi Railway station and Wakulima Market and is expected to take up the space occupied by the old market.

The Sh389 million Mwariro Market, located in Starehe sub-County, is a six-storey building with 360 stalls, where 318 will be allocated to the original traders and the remaining 42 stalls will be through ballot.

Karandini Market in Dagoretti South, which is a two-storey building has 204 stalls put up at a cost of Sh294 million while Sh214 million Westlands Market will accommodate about 3,000 traders.

On the other hand, phase one of the Sh493 million Gikomba Market is already complete awaiting occupancy.

The construction of the market began in October, 2018 following a spate of fire outbreaks in the famous market.