Two months ago, traders were jostling for spaces at Uhuru Business Park.
Allocation of spaces at the market had to be delayed for close to a year as modalities for the exercise proved complex following the high number of traders seeking for spaces there.
But today, the Sh600 million ultramodern market which was designed to accommodate 4, 000 traders, is empty.
I have a neighbor who had space here and in Kibuye, so when Kibuye was reopened, she chose to returnTrader
When Lake Region Bulletin visited the facility, only a handful of mobile money operators were inside the shop.
Three other food vendors were also making good use of the idle spaces, with each taking up compartments which can accommodate 100 traders.
“The owners of the spaces left, and we needed the space,” said one of the food vendors.
This market was constructed to accommodate the disorganized street vendors who caused disorder in the lakeside city.
But it may turn out to be another while elephant.
A mobile money operator who was in the premises told Lake Region Bulletin that fellow traders flee the market a few weeks ago.
“They said there is no business here, and they have loans and bills to pay,” she said.
Many of the traders went back to the sunny, dusty roadsides, while some chose to return to the open air Kibuye Market.
“I have a neighbor who had space here and in Kibuye, so when Kibuye was reopened, she chose to return,” she said.
Just outside Uhuru Business Park, along Mosque Road, hundreds of traders are lined up with their merchandise.
This area was originally occupied by juakali artisans dealing in automotive works.
“If everyone is out here, why would I stay inside the market where customers do not come,” said a second hand cloth seller.
“I have been a trader in Kisumu for the past 15 years, but I have missed space in all the three main markets in town, while cartels get multiple spaces, so I just have to be in the streets,” said another trader.
Bovince Ochieng, Director of Trade admitted that there was a challenge in getting the traders out of the streets.
His sentiments married those of the traders at Uhuru Business Park, that some traders have multiple spaces in different markets, hence denying genuine traders spaces.
He said his office will clean up allocation of spaces within the various markets in town, so that each trader has specific place to operate from.
“Some people got spaces at Chichwa, Kibuye and Uhuru Business Park. This is something we are working on and will soon sort out the matter,” he said.
He noted that some people on the streets genuinely lack spaces within the markets, while some have spaces but just choose to go to the streets.