Widespread complaints and fingering of President Uhuru Kenyatta that he had forgotten about his core 2017 supporters, who are largely small scale traders in Nairobi prompted him to swing in action.Details have now emerged of a 3 hour meeting at State House last Friday, between President Uhuru Kenyatta and traders from Nyamakima market.
The meeting between the head of state and representatives of disgruntled small traders presented Uhuru with first information on the frustration and suffering the traders have been going through since September 2017.The traders had their way when Uhuru intervened to have a speedy release of containers of imported goods, after the traders detailed how seizure of their goods had destroyed their businesses as well as made life unbearable to their families.
The State House meeting was so secretive that it had no senior government officials except for Interior CS Fred Matiangi and Uhuru’s PA Jomo Gecaga. This, sources indicate was to allow the traders speak freely without feeling intimidated in any way, so that they were free to fully air their grievances.It was after this meeting that the president decided to make an impromptu visit to the Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Embakasi on Sunday evening and again yesterday where he decreed that all seized containers be released within the next three weeks.
The depot has held close to 1000 containers of imported goods, something that has affected close to 5,000 business owners in Nyamakima market alone.The traders had put their blame on the government for its stringent trade policies and bureaucracy.The delays in clearance have been due to insufficient paperwork, including cargo that is destined for the local market that was declared as export goods by scrupulous importers in attempts to evade paying requisite taxes.