Transfer plan of Kongowea market to county ready

A worker carries a sack of potatoes outside Kongowea Market in Mombasa. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT
A worker carries a sack of potatoes outside Kongowea Market in Mombasa. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT 

Plans are under way to hand over the Sh320 million Kongowea Wholesale Market to the Mombasa county government ahead of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to coast region.

The market, constructed under the economic stimulus programme, will benefit a bout 4,000 traders.

The biggest open-air market in the region is the main source of fresh produce, hosting traders who sell tomatoes, cereals, fruits, second-hand clothes, shoes, bags, miraa, electronics and other merchandise from as far away as Tanzania.

Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary Aidah Munano yesterday inspected the project ahead of its commissioning. Workers were busy doing final touches on the market while others were cleaning up.

“About 1500 traders will be beneficiaries. We had discussions with the county government and agreed on how we will manage it.

Official commissioning

‘‘But the overall beneficiaries direct and indirectly are 4000. Eventually, beneficiaries are people from the coast region because this is their hub,” she said.

Ms Munano, an architect, said the project will be ready in two weeks. However, she did not disclose when the commissioning ceremony will take place.
Mombasa governor Hassan Joho has in the past accused the national government of riding on county government projects to gain popularity.

“We confirm that indeed the function of markets is a county mandate, why the national government is here is in terms of capacity building and technical support,” said Ms Ms Munano.

She asked the contractor to ensure the project is completed in time for official commissioning.

“What we are remaining with is finalising on the borehole, final coat and one or two roofing sheets and cleaning up and we will be ready to hand over the project to the county government,” she said .

Ms Munano requested the county government to maintain the facility’s high standards.

The PS said the government had spent over Sh4 billion on a number of projects at the Coast.

She said they include the Kenya Municipal Programme, the Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Programme and a slum upgrading project.