By Abdi Hussein
Kajiado town open air market has been earmarked for demolition to pave way for Sh 46 million Information and communications technology (ICT) enabled public square funded by the World Bank.
The public square is expected to economically boost the sleepy Kajiado town that hosts the county headquarters barely two years after the town was elevated into a municipality. This will be the first public park in the vast Kajiado County.
More than 300 daily traders and dozens ‘guest’ traders who flock the open air market every Wednesday have already been moved to an alternative modern retail market.
Section of traders lauded the initiative urging the county government to allocate them operations street in Kajiado town once per week. The ‘guest’ traders move across the county in open air markets selling their assorted wares.
On June 30th irate traders took the battle to Governor Lenku office in what turned into a heated standoff, with the governor maintaining his ground and stating that the project will continue as scheduled.
”My administration endures to serve people but we ought not to be arm-twisted.we may be forced to use excess force to ensure the project proceeds as scheduled,” said Lenku.
Meanwhile, Idarmat ward MCA Samuel Teum moved a motion in Kajiado County assembly opposing the project.
Originally the three acres chunk of land was set aside for a public park, but it was allocated to traders by the defunct Ol Kejuado county council leadership in the 1990s.
According to the department of lands records more than two acres has since been taken and developed by private.
developers. Demolition of semi permanent structures had been started.
The county government of Kajiado expected to provide street furniture with solar power enabled sockets.
Also the park is designed to have two kiosks, ablution block and Maasai community cultural square where the natives will be showcasing and selling their traditional artifacts online.
Kajiado Municipal manager Persimei Gitau said the public square will create job opportunities for youths and will elevate the status of the town attracting investors. Youths groups will be considered to provide Wifi services at a fee.
He said Maasai women will be allocated enough space to showcase and sell their traditional artifacts as one way to preserve the Maasai culture and boost them economically.
“Previous poor planning of Kajiado town is a major setback to expansion for better services to our people. The county headquarters town has no public toilet or a public square. These are the mistakes we are collecting,” said Mr Gitau when addressing the affected traders,
Mr Gitau took issue with the town’s snail pace development record, saying the municipality management is improving infrastructure, water supply in an attempt to provide investors friendly atmosphere.
“This town goes to sleep by 8pm.We want to change the narrative and transform it into a 24 hours economy town. The Wifi enabled public square is one facet towards realising the dream,” he added.