, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 1 – Acting Nairobi Mayor George Aladwa has ordered the suspension of new rates at the Wakulima Market until further consultations are held.
Mr Aladwa intervened on Monday morning after traders at the busy market camped at City Hall to protest the rates which were published in the October 15 issue of the Kenya Gazette.
The traders, led by their chairman Cyrus Githaiga had camped at City Hall demanding audience with Town Clerk Philip Kisia over the new fees.
“The rates that have been imposed upon us by the City Council are meant to oppress us or even an indirect way of telling us to go home,” he said.
Mr Githaiga decried the fact that the traders were not consulted in any way and that they had not been given time to get used to the rates.
“City Hall needs to consult with all stakeholders,” he protested. “They should not just increase the rates haphazardly without talking to anyone. If we are included, then we also can contribute positively to improve the quality of service delivery.”
The City Council announced an increment to a number of rates including parking fees, house rent and market charges.
Last week, the High Court issued an order suspending the new fees in the gazette notice for 30 days pending the hearing and determination of the case filed by a Nairobi businessman Henry Mwangira Nkure and a transport company Kaka Travelers who claimed that the new rates had prejudiced them.
The order further directed lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui to serve the Ministry of Local Government and the city council with the suit papers to stop implementation of the new charges.
While addressing the protesting traders on Monday, the Acting Mayor also pledged that a stakeholder’s meeting would address issues of cleanliness in the market and improved service delivery.
“We have heard your complaints so now you should stop paying the fees until we agree on this matter. We will discuss the issue so that we can come to an amicable solution,” he said.
“We have a new Constitution which protects even the ordinary Kenyan. We have heard your chairman and even the area councilor but something to note that the new rates were not put there by town clerk Philip Kisia,” he explained. “They had already been published in the Kenya Gazette.”
The traders complained that the new rates were going to affect their bottom lines.
“To tell us to pay Sh60 for a bag of produce up from Sh30 is not fair. To push a handcart alone you are charged Sh50. That is like stealing from a beggar,” said handcart pusher.
“Let us first of all get services paid for by the rates and then we can sit down and consult about these others that you now want to increase.”
Rates of various commodities were increased in all markets across the city including Gikomba, Ngara, Dandora, Pumwani, Karen, Landhies road, city market and Kariokor.