Hawkers Vs County Askaris: How Do We Overcome the Impasse in Eldoret Market?

Eldoret Market_Eldoret Leo

Written by GK Ruto.

A Glance at the Current Changes in Eldoret and Opportunities available for Expansion for Hora-hora traders at West Market.


Eldoret has witnessed far-reaching changes in the recent past. Indeed, bona fide city status is well within our reach. A few of the changes seen are the second mall at Rupa; the tallest building in the town, MUPS Plaza; another mall nearing completion along Nairobi road, and Club Timba that frequently host national celebrities.

New buildings are also under construction in and around town, including Highlands Mall under development in the western side of town at West Indies along Uganda Road.

Highlands Mall (under construction) is in proximity to Eldoret West Market and will, therefore, drive traffic towards the market area

One would also notice the clean streets in the CBD and reduced congestion. Many people are happy with the changes in the town, but not a particular caliber of traders.

Some traders have had to endure the loss of trading spaces after the county government put a limitation on the number and type of traders doing business in certain parts of town. This regulation resulted in an unfortunate incident on Thursday 22nd whereby there was a clash between the county government askaris and the displaced traders from the Sokoni streets.

It is reported that 25 people were injured in the fracas.

Nevertheless, on Friday 23rd regular business resumed according to the new town order, and Eldoretians trafficked the streets without fear as they walked over the black ash on the tarmac that remained from Thursday street fires.
While some traders have been complaining that they were chased out of the CBD without being told where to go, the West Market just on the periphery of town could interest a town visitor if one is to consider opportunities for expansion.
The West Market may as well be Eldoret dressing hub. It hosts thousands of traders selling clothes and shoes and related commodities.

In Eldoret, on Friday everything stops and everyone regardless of age, race, religion, tribe or economic status head to West where the Market is held.

The Market opens at the junction at pauls bakery and meanders past 64 stadium, Eldoret Union Primary and finally spreading out on an open field in Kidiwa ( aka L.C). The Market is usually open every day of the week, but it is at its busiest on Fridays.

Additionally, new spaces have been created for more traders. The West Market expansion starts right at the Western stage where yards of about 15feet by 5 feet have been demarcated using white powder. About 150 such yards run along the Muslim cemetery wall from the Western stage to Gulab Lochab. Even though writings are seen on the wall indicating allocation, the yards remain unoccupied.

Allocated traders yards along the Muslim cemetery’s perimeter wall opposite Highlands Mall under construction near West Market

Furthermore, the area that used to sell tree nurseries; under the billboard opposite Pauls Bakery, has been cleared and the space given to traders. However, not a lot of them are setting up their business in that space.
If that’s not all, there is still space on the other end of West Market in Kidiwa.While that area gets soggy during the rainy seasons, the County Government should move in and construct sheds and a drainage system so the market can be business ready, and traders can freely spread their wares.

While the market in Kidiwa is very spacious, lack of permanent structures and drainage system makes it nearly impossible to conduct business during the rainy season

The trading space outside 64 Stadium also presents an opportunity for vertical expansion. A storied structure could be built that would also act as the stadium’s wall in addition to offering more space for more traders.

Eldoret remains the city of champions with a promise of prosperity and good weather; we must always be conscious of the expansion factor; as more people come to participate in our City’s economics.

-GK Ruto.

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