Locals of Kisumu City have lamented about the ongoing demolitions which they say is bringing with it more disadvantages then benefits.
Courtesy of the Kisumu rebirth plan that began a year ago, the city has been witnessing major demolitions lately, which has consequently rendered thousands jobless.
The targets include stalls and establishments erected on allegedly grabbed land owned by the Kenya Railways and county government, which has left hawkers and small scale traders jobless.
Locals are now complaining that the destructions have badly battered the economy, with the worst part being that area leaders have been watching the situation from afar.
Others have warned that the city is slowly turning into an idle parcel of land, the worst beaten industry being the business sector.
"After the ruthless evictions, Kisumu now has large swathes of idle land, but with hundreds of thousands of unemployed population. To add insult to injury, no leader from Nyanza is talking about this crisis," said Kenneth K'Ochiel, a retired banker.
He noted that while the expansion of the Kisumu Port, which had also seen structures demolished around the area, is important, there is need for the exercise to be held soberly.
He further challenged area leaders to open up on the ongoing exercise, and the county government and Railways to explain what they intend to do with the lands they are reacquiring.
"It is only in Kisumu where the government would rather have large of tracts of undeveloped land and ignore the plight of its jobless and hungry people,” he said.
The county earmarked stalls in several places across the city for demolition, while Railways has since demolished the Lwangni Beach which houses hundreds of stalls.
Attempts by some to seek accommodation at the Kibuye, Otonglo and Jubilee Markets have been marred with controversy, as the stranded businesspeople lament that they cannot afford spaces in malls.
Kisumu Residents Voice Association Chair Audi Ogada said that it would have been better if the demolitions were done in phases, to allow the traders time to identify other places.
“We appreciate the expansion of the port but whatever the demolitions has done to the city will take time to recover. The demolitions have done a disservice to the people,” he said.
But Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyongo's Communications Director Alloyce Ager called for calm among stall owners, saying that they will be accommodated elsewhere.