Traders operating at the popular Kongowea market in Mombasa have been silently counting losses over time as police manning the trading center numerously extort them.
According to a disturbed trader, the askaris in the market have been asking the traders who seek to get products from the farmers’ markets as a customer to part with Ksh20.
“For you to access the farmers’ market as a customer, you have to part with 20 bobs if your hands are holding anything else apart from money,” lamented the trader on Kenya’s popular Facebook page Buyer Beware.
He further revealed that despite the askaris having recept books for any legal payment the traders are to make, they never record the Ksh20 collected randomly.
The practice is claimed to have been taking place for over one year now.
Additionally, if anyone resists giving the askaris the money, they would be mishandled and roughed up and sometimes even subjected to detention in their offices.
“The manner with which the askaris handle people when asking for this money will sadden you,” the trader explained.
He went ahead to complain of how the officers keep smoking weed near the gates used by the traders.
“This is the same gate where askaris report to smoke weed in the morning at around 6 am. Sellers have complained but nothing is being done,” he mentioned.
What is even worse is the fact that the senior officers in charge of the ones manning the gates, know about the malpractices but have not done anything yet.
The market has more than 60,000 people daily including traders and customers.
Kongowea market, one of the large wholesale and retail facility in East Africa, reorganized with access roads, parking, garbage management, drainage, CCTVs, and lighting system to modernize its operations.