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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Malindi traders declare war on county government

Traders in Malindi town are up in arms against the county government over what they termed as an illegal increase in taxes charged on their businesses by the county government.
The traders engaged police in running battles in Malindi town which resulted into the death of a woman who was shot and several other people injured.
Investigations reveal that the traders had secretly plotted to hold peaceful demonstrations and as they jammed the streets to protest over the new rates, anti- riot police were called and a fierce battle ensued. Many businesses closed as demonstrators fought running street battles with police. Protests subsided later in the day, but many businesses stayed shut for fear of looting.
For hours, business came to a standstill as traders battled with police. According to the traders, they are opposed to a 100pc increase in rates, with small scale traders and hawkers forced to pay a Sh30 daily fee, up from Sh15, and shop owners paying Sh900 up from Sh300.
The traders were drawn from Kaloleni, Kilifi town, Mariakani and Malindi town. The arrival of Malindi MP Dan Kazungu did not go in well with a section. The askaris blocked him and more running battles followed.
The askaris claimed that they were acting on orders from town manager Daniel Chome that they should not allow the MP into the building since he was not involved in the traders’ grievances.
The traders at one time insisted that they were not going to leave the compound until Governor Amason Kingi addresses them.
Damaris Muranje who runs her small business in Kilifi town and was among the protesters. The protest comes barely a week after a senior county government official was arrested while allegedly receiving a bribe from a contractor. Riziki Matano, who heads the supply chain management department, was arrested while allegedly receiving a bribe from a contractor in Kilifi town.
Kilifi county secretary Owen Baya blamed the police for using excessive force while dispersing the traders.