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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 7 December 2014

POVERTY BECKONS AS MUTUA FLATTENS SHOPS TO PLANT FLOWERS IN MATUU

Irate traders blocked the Garissa Highway in Matuu town to protest against the demolition of their kiosks by Machakos county government led by Alfred Mutua.
The more than 1,000 traders said  the county government demolished the structures without notice.
Sammy Mutie, one of the traders, said they woke up in the morning and found all the kiosks demolished.
“We are all operating here legally because we pay monthly fees to the county. It is inhuman for the leaders to demolish our investment,” said Mutie.
The furious traders demonstrated along the main highway carrying placards and causing a heavy traffic jam. Anti-riot police lobbed tear gas canisters to disperse the traders. The officers then cleared the road that had been barricaded with stones.
Addressing the traders at Matuu Bus Park, area MP Francis Mwangangi faulted the county government for demolishing the kiosks without consulting the traders.
Mwangangi said that the demolitions of kiosks in Matuu town have greatly affected the economy.  “County leaders are always encouraging residents to engage in income generating activities to avoid crime. It is wrong for the same government to demolish small traders’ structures without proper strategies,” he said
Mwangangi warned that the county government should not demolish structures in order to ‘invest in flowers’ saying enough is enough.
“The traders lost goods worth thousands of shillings and the county government should take responsibility for that,” he said.
The youthful MP said the traders were moved to pave way for the growing of flowers in the area, which “will not benefit” residents.
Mwangangi said that it would be wise for the county government to involve all stakeholders while deciding on their future plans.
“We are not here to fight the county government but it’s always good to have dialogue in terms of development,” the MP said amid ululations.
Embattled area MCA David Manyolo popularly known as Wa Mutole was booed and forced to leave the venuewith the traders baying for his blood,
Manyolo was later frogmarched by the angry traders who vowed to teach him a lesson come 2017 election.
“Manyolo knew that the county government had a plan to demolish our sheds. He has failed to deliver but time will tell,” the traders told this newspaper.
Scenes of running battles between police, county askaris and youths have become common in the county, as traders and some leaders resist the violent demolitions.
The confrontation follows a move by the governor to rid of structures, which, he says, have ruined the image of the town, once the region’s cleanest urban centre.
Early this year, leaders also condemned the demolition of kiosks at Kyumbi market in Mavoko. The demolitions were conducted by the Machakos county government. The open space at Kyumbi has now been made a couple’s dating corner with benches for idlers to chew muguka and engage in immoral activities.
Mavoko MP Patrick Makau at the time said it was inhuman for the county government to demolish kiosks without giving the owners notice. Makau said the county government is insensitive to the plight of the small scale traders.
Kiosk owners and residents protested forcing police to lob tear gas canisters to disperse them.
“We were woken up at about 4am with fake notices telling us to vacate immediately,” kiosk owner Mary Mbithe told the press.