Over 1,000 small traders received a reprieve after the state partially reopened Mombasa’s Sh450 million Mama Ngina Waterfront yesterday.
Tourism Chief Secretary Safina Kwekwe issued a notice allowing all traders to sell their goods on the waterfront.
Mombasa politicians, led by MP Mvita Abdulswamad Nassir, had put pressure on the government to reopen the facility that had been closed to contain the spread of Covid-19.
In a petition to parliament, Nassir said traders have been unemployed for more than a year since the government put in place health protocols to help curb the spread of Covid-19.
The MP also wants the pirate beach to reopen.
âThese dealers are affected by the closure. Let’s look at them, âsaid Nassir.
Yesterday, Kwekwe said the traders and political leaders had come to terms with the government because it had exposed them to immeasurable suffering.
“At least four main seasons have passed without us entering the premises to do business, but other locations such as the Kongowea wholesale market were open,” said Simon Mariga, spokesman for the dealers.
Ali Noor Ali, the coordinator of Mama Ngina Waterfront Park, said traders are allowed to do business at the facility but must comply with Covid-19 health regulations.
âThe general public and traders are admitted.
“The park is open from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., but we will make sure the Covid-19 protocols are followed,” he said.
Ali called on the traders to calm down, saying the government had good intentions in restricting access to the place.
âThis is primarily a tourist area to relax in and not a marketplace. There are designated markets in the county, âhe said.
He insisted that they are interested in maintaining Mama Ngina Waterfront Park as a place of leisure and relaxation.
Mama Ngina Water Front Parks is set on 26 acres overlooking the Kilindini Harbor Canal. It has been expanded into a modern public recreational area with additional amenities.
In 2019, the park hosted the Mashujaa Day celebrations.
The park on the water has an amphitheater, a cultural center, a 2.1 km long promenade and a place for food stalls.