I have to talk to my sisters who are business veterans in Kisumu and all over the place to understand how this will work better for them and everybody else to bring development and just good way of life for so many people. But I like it already.
In Kisumu we have Kibuye Market which is a humongous market in the city and you can get everything from there. They have restaurants there of every kind possible. Clothing shops. Poultry and Livestock sales. Music and electronic of any kind. Internet stuff. To make it simple. You want anything in Kisumu City you go to Kibuye Market which is next to my beloved Manyatta estate.
Then there is Chiro Mbero at the old bus stand. That is a market built in the 1950’s to provide food and all produce to residents. That is where you get the sikuma from out there. The fruits are in there. And you can eat anything while waiting for your bus to take you to Kisii, Homabay, Bondo, Kisian, Luanda Kotieno etc.
One of the greatest things in Kenyan towns and rural areas is the open market to sell and buy everything. That is how we have lived and survived as communities for generations. Now we are in the global world where I can buy my Nike Shirt in a Mutumba shop in Bondo town which is my home. I can also buy my Kachumbari hot hot stuff with choma and roast fish at the market. Then I am on. What is wrong with that?
Absolutely nothing except the market is itself a danger zone. Most market places in Kenya, and I am not talking about Gikomba yet, are death traps for the most.
This is what happened in a big market in Somaliland just today. This is a crisis waiting for many Kenyan markets on any day. It has to be avoided by preparing for it not by wishing it never happens.
I tell my sister who runs a huge clothing enterprise in Bondo town where she buys clothing material from Dubai makes school uniforms and sells them and a whole bunch of stuff that all it could take to ruin her business and the lives of all the people she employs is a fire at the Bondo open market where she owns property.
The market is great and generates millions of cash sales everyday for the town and it is the biggest in Siaya County but it is an accident waiting to happen and so is the case for all our markets in the country where most Kenyans derive their lives from.
We need to build these markets properly. We need to have power and electricity installed. We need to have fire prevention and ways to deal with fire outbreak at any time. In Kenya when our national airport (JKIA) was on fire some years ago we show people carrying pales of water to go deal with it.
How about our markets?
I give the Kisumu Governor Prof. Yongo many thumbs up for doing so much for the city.
Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada