Governor Joseph Lenku on Friday announced that construction of a Sh 40 million modern market in Kitengela is expected to commence next week.
Lenku, in an exclusive interview, at the same time denied there is controversy over who is the rightful owner of the plot the current old market sits and said the entire one acre-plot in public land.
“I am not aware of any issue regarding that, and we are now ready to take off in a project that will give Kitengela residents a brand new market,” said Lenku on the telephone.
The governor said the contractor has already been instructed to start work as soon as the relocation of traders to a new site behind the Bus Park is complete on April 26.
“Because of the uniqueness of Kitengela town and its fast growth, we have come with a plan to put up a storeyed market building with ample parking lot for offloads and customers,” said Lenku.
He said the stores for the traders’ wares will be on top of the market building, while the lower floor will house ready food outlets and shops, as stalls for perishable foodstuff and cereals will occupy the ground floor.
“I am using this opportunity to warn against rumours and those inciting traders not to move to a new temporary site so as to pave way for a contractor to move to the construction site.
“Between now and May 1, traders will operate freely on the new site, and those to be allocated space are bonafide members of the old market. We shall use the current register to allocate the space next week,” said Lenku.
The governor said a borehole is already in place at the old market which was unveiled several months ago. He added that after completion of the new market, traders will be doing business around the clock.
“This will be a 24 hour economy for Kitengela business people and the residents. We will also provide 24-hour security surveillance at the market with flashlights around the fenced market,” said Lenku.
The construction of the new market is expected to take close to between six and seven months under the supervision of the county department of Trade, according to Lenku.
He said the new market is under his (governor’s) flagship project, adding that he will personally ensure the contractor do the work according to government specification and specified time.
“The new market, which is designed to take more than double the current number of traders is a massive project that hopes to serve satisfactorily all old and new entrants” said Lenku.
Some of the traders at the old market who we interviewed said they were at first not sure of the owner of the land the county government is saying will put up a new market.
“We have been asking many questions as to who is the rightful owner of this plot. There are some people going around telling us that the owner is coming next week to take up his property,” said Peter Mwangi, a cereals dealer at the market.
Mwangi appealed to the county government to dish out spaces on the new site fairly to the old traders before allowing new ones to take up their share.
He thanked governor Lenku for giving them a grace period of not paying levies between Friday and May 1.