Court Backs Governor Nyong’o On Move To Relocate Traders

By The Weekly Vision Team

Kisumu Governor Prof. Anynag’ Nyong’o has won a case filed by Kapere Enterprises on behalf of 200 traders at Nyamlori Market in Kisumu City. The case was filed through a petition dated January 27, 2023, by Carren Awuor Capere, who sued the county governor of Kisumu, the city manager Michael Wanga, and the county’s director of trade, Bovins Ochieng.

In an affidavit, Capere claimed that the case was filed in the public interest on behalf of the 200 traders, on behalf of approximately 2000 employees there, on behalf of approximately 10,000 auxiliary traders thereto, and behalf of approximately 100,000 dependents, all the foregoing to the exclusion of those who may have sought relief in their own right. The traders sought relief and prayed that the court quash the Statutory Notice referenced CGK/COK/ADM/VOL.1/1/2023 dated January 20, 2023 and titled RE: MASS RESETTLEMENT OF TRADERS AT UHURU BUSINESS MARKET COMPLEX, issued by the county government of Kisumu.

The traders claimed that the governor had announced on January 12, 2023, through a press statement that the Uhuru Business Market Complex was intended for settling traders who were disposed of during the revitalization of the port and upgrading of the railway line.

Following a meeting held by the 3rd Respondent at Uhuru Business Market Complex, rival violent gangs, most of whom are not actively engaged in the informal sector within the Uhuru Business Market Complex, have engaged in violent confrontations within Uhuru Business Market Complex precincts on several occasions, fighting over control and use of the market spaces. These fights have left scores injured and hospitalized with hacking and knife-stabbing injuries, causing extreme fear and despondency among traders in the informal sector and members of the public within the Central Business District of Kisumu City.

The process of resettling the traders at Uhuru Business Market Complex has failed to pick up business, almost one year after the official opening, because the location and design are not appropriate. The traders who were assigned stalls have been forced to abandon them and go back to the streets in search of business. The County Government of Kisumu is committed to supporting traders and has prioritized market development in its emergency development plans by investing in the establishment of trading premises to house the informal traders and to create dignified trading spaces. Some of the markets developed include Chichwa, Otonglo, Kibuye, Maendeleo Market, and Uhuru Business Market in partnership with the National Government.

The county government prayed that the court should not aid a party who is guilty of contravention of an express and mandatory statutory stipulation that traders are not allowed to carry out business along walkways, road reserves, on drainage, or near learning institutions according to the Physical Planning and Land Use Act No. 13 of 2019 or who is a party to a contract that is illegal or contra-statute.

Though the petition is stated to be brought by the petitioner on behalf of other traders numbering about 200, employees numbering about 2000, about 10,000 auxiliary traders, and 100,000 dependents, there was no evidence of this. All parties to litigation should be identifiable. Ownership of business by the other traders at Nyamlori Market was not demonstrated. Only a handful annexed copies of trade licenses to the application. There is no evidence that the other traders are aggrieved by the decision to relocate them. 

In a ruling by Judge E. Esati on December 14, 2023, the judge noted, “I find that it has not been demonstrated that the respondents have violated or threaten to violate the petitioner’s rights as pleaded in the petition. I also find that the grounds for the grant of the judicial review remedy of certiorari have not been proven. Similarly, I find that no case has been made out for compensation of the petitioner or the other traders”.

The final order reads, “For the foregoing reasons, I find that the petition lacks merit and is hereby dismissed. The petitioner has 60 days hereof to comply with the statutory notice.”