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Kiambu County sets out very tough measures to restore order within Thika CBD

Following complaints from by traders operating within Thika Central Business District (CBD) over various issues affecting them, Kiambu County Government through the Thika Sub-County office, has come up with a raft of measures to address their grievances and create an enabling environment to doing business.

In a meeting chaired by the Sub-county Admin David Ng'ang'a Nyoroku and attended by officials of the Thika District Business Association (TDBA), the traders complained that the County government had ambushed them when serving them with court bonds for late payment of business licences. They also complained about the issue of hawkers whom they accused of killing their businesses through unfair competition.

Among the traders grievances included:

- The traders wanted the county government to offer them some grace period to raise the licence fees since they had just resumed business after the COVID-19 pandemic.

- They accused the hawkers of creating an unhealthy competition since they sold the same product with the hawkers who were not paying any fees. This accorded the hawkers an unfair advantage that allowed them to sell their wares at a cheaper price, forcing some of these traders out of business. 

- The hawkers had a tendency of blocking their shops and completely interfering with their businesses even as early as morning hours.

Having listened to these grievances, the sub-county admin directed his officers to conduct business in a very humane way. He however notified the traders that despite these hard conditions, it was mandatory to pay business licences as this was the money the devolved government used to offer the services they needed.

He noted that out of the 5,000 traders who had not cleared their licences on time, 4,000 had already done so during the grace period and it was only about 1,000 traders who were yet to pay for their licences.

It was therefore agreed that the remaining lot to pay their licences by the end of this month failure to which, the county government would not hesitate to take legal action against any of the defaulters.

The following were the resolutions that were agreed upon;

- Anyone who has not paid for the 2020 business licence has up to October 30th 2020 to clear their debts.

- The County Government of Kiambu has waived all penalties for late payment of business licences.

- In case any trader has a challenge clearing their licence fee, they can visit the Sub-County Finance Officer, make a formal request and agree on a payment schedule to clear their dues.

- Pending a lasting solution to the issue of hawkers, NO hawker will be allowed to display their merchandise for sale before 5pm everyday.

- No hawker will be allowed to display their merchandise in front of an open shop, block pedestrian walkways or display them on the tarmac where vehicles pass. They should always leave a gap between themselves and the shops and also leave enough space to allow human traffic. If they find all the designated spaces occupied, they will have to go home and try their luck the following day.

- Any hawker who will breach any of these rules will have his/her merchandise seized without notice.

- All structures that are being illegally put up on pedestrian walkways and in front of other shops within the CBD will be impounded.

- Old structures that have been operating before but have slowly encroached on the pedestrian walkways must shift backwards to where they were originally allocated. Any structure found blocking the road or pedestrian walkway will be impounded.

- Structures that have blocked the entrances to other shops must be redesigned to their original allocation to allow free movement into the affected shops.

- Bodabodas, tuktuks and bicycle operators found blocking the road or pedestrian walkways will be impounded.

- Matatus and other PSVs found occupying more than their allocated parking space will be impounded.

Present at the meeting included Thika Sub-County officers in-charge of finance, administration and enforcement. Others were TDBA officials led by the Chairman Alfred Wanyoike.

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