By Lorraine Anyango
We knew it as one of the oldest and most popular open-air markets in East and Central Africa.
Its name was synonymous with Kisumu County, besides being one of the top revenue earners in the region. Then came the Coronavirus, that saw County and Public Authorities shut down the Market.
But even if Coronavirus subsides, Kibuye market will never be the same again, if on-going plans to construct it into an Ultra-Modern market is anything to go by. Already, it has been fenced and work is set to begin, according to Kisumu City Manager, Ms Doris Ombara.
Funded by the World Bank, Kibuye will be built to an international standards, with a Five -Level architectural plan, to accommodate different kinds of traders and modern facilities.
Once completed, this will be one of the most auspicious projects built through a successful collaboration between the governor, Prof Peter Anyang’ Nyong’os government, the national government and international donors.
Kisumu County is working closely with the French Government, the World Bank and the German government, among other organizations in improving the livelihoods of the people.
The first phase of modernizing Kibuye market will cost Ksh 200 million. Plans are underway to advertise tenders in the next seven days for the work scheduled to start and be completed within 12 months.
An expansive market with a permanent perimeter wall and strong grills, a parking bay, an off loading and loading area, five gates with revenue collection points and modern ablution blocks, this is the new face of the famous Kibuye market.
Aware house mounted with CCTV cameras where all good that come in must dock, to be weighed, graded and costed, modern spacious sheds for the whole sale area with proper sheds, work tops and running water for washing produce.
This replaces the muddy, ruggedly uneven, quaint and busy 13.6 acres Kibuye Market that has served the larger East African region for decades.
This move comes in to secure the market as well as ease off traders currently using the stadium parking lot to sell their wares and allow the stadium to resume its function.
“The City Board will give us consent to advertise this coming week so that work commences immediately.” Says Ombara.
“Sitting here for the last five years, I can tell you Kibuye is another illegal government by itself unfortunately, managed by very high level cartels which must dislodge it.” She emphasized stating that the county government is moving fast to reclaim ownership of Kibuye market.
“The 13.6 acres are government’s land, so no cartels can dictate to the government not to fence it, adding that the market belongs to the government of the day. “ The dislodge has started with a clear demarcation of where Kibuye starts and ends.” She said
The county government already relocated traders and put up a chain link fence engaging the National youth service, this was done amidst resistance by the cartels. Ms Ombara added that the county government has a right to put up beacons indicating the demarcation of Kibuye market.
To harness the area under contention Governor Nyongo’ paid for the services that were offered by National Youth services and through the special deliver unit bought materials that were used to fence off the area.
The cartels have been opposing the fencing of the market to bar the government from collecting revenue. “ones the market is built, lorries will pass through a gated area, we will take their details including phone numbers, the good they are carrying and then they will pay.” She said.
She said that the county is losing revenue because lorries are coming in from different points, “We don’t know how many lorries have come in, some suppliers are renting houses in the near- by estates where cartels sneak in and buy the goods so that revenue collectors don’t get access.” She said.
Ms Ombara also said that the county will break the cartel of brokers who impose and market prices on both suppliers and retailers, noting that they were not legitimate in revenue collection.
This trend has discouraged farmers in the villages from growing produce only to throw it to the brokers.
The whole sale areas will be upgraded to deal with overland flow, pickling pathogens and increasing rate of due to contamination.
“It’s priority for us to put up decent sheds with proper drainage, stand pipes, taps, racks for wares display to avoid mess and contamination that can result to cholera outbreak.” Ms Ombara pointed out.
However, the fight to reclaim and secure Kibuye market will not be done with until over 300 permanent residents illegally occupying the market are moved out. “These people abandoned their homes and villages to come and take residency of the market.” Ms Ombara said.
The mabati stalls are homes, people pay rent there to illegal land lords who are collecting rent on government market land because it’s not fenced, they want it as a free for all.
This new development in Kibuye will also see the 1.5 acres within Kibuye known as ‘Migingo Island’ removed. “It’s a place where there are brothels, music 24 hours, chagaa within the market, this too must be dislodged.” Ms Ombara added.
There are also planned civil works including access lanes and drainages, lighting and about 6 fire hydrants coming in handy when responding to fire emergencies, since Kibuye is prone to fire accidents.
Eventually when the market is completely done it will take about 5 billion shillings , since it’s a county, country and regional market, there are troops from south Sudan, Dr C Congo ,Rwanda, Kampala every week . And with the opening up of the port, The market is bound to attract even more people.
The market will also have a clinic and provisions for required licenses for operations while the parking lot comes in handy to aid in revenue collection which will later be channeled the development envelope to fund projects undertaken by the county.
“We want it to be done as a commodity-based market which has order, a map and people can easily locate one’s premise within the market as similar business will be clustered together.” She added.