Gov Ali Roba - Opening of new Rhamu IDP and Sala Market

The run up to the 2013 general elections saw a stiff competition between the Garre and Degodia communities for the Mandera North parliamentary seat and subsequent post-election violence erupted across the sub-county. Rhamu, a strategic town for both communities, was one of the most affected areas; properties were looted, houses were burnt and thousands of people displaced from their homes. In 2015, a ceasefire brokered by National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) with support from Elected leaders from Northern Kenya and several engagements by the County Government and Peace Actors returned normalcy to the town. The chaos led to the Closure of the Rhamu Market in 2015 after it was looted and some parts vandalised.

Rhamu main market has been a pillar for the community integration over the years. The estimated number of stalls before the 2013 general elections was 55 and 30 vegetable cubes, a total of 85.

The decade old conflict between the Garre and Degodia communities made the market economically defunct, socially deserted and politically a gauge for future reference and a bad reminder for the tribulations that befell the residents.

Engagements towards the re-opening of the market was done by National Government, Mandera County Government, NCIC, Danish Demining Group (DDG) and Mandera Mediation Council for effective reintegration of the communities. However, it was an exercise in futility as traders from both communities declined to relocate to the market. A series of dialogue and meetings followed subsequently. The devastating effect of this heinous conflict saw the people in Rhamu get disintegrated in markets, mosques, social amenities and settlements. Properties worth millions of shillings were lost making the main market, which served as an essential centre for integration, closed and deserted for years.

Since that time, each community opened their own open-air market making their reintegration an elusive affair. The tension renewed in the wake of 2017 elections with the fear of a possible violence. However, a peaceful poll was witnessed during this period.

In an effort to restore hope and peace, Mandera County Government invested Kshs. 37,657,000 for the construction and refurbishment of two sections. The new and refurbished facility accommodates a total of 448 traders, which include 158 stalls occupants, 40 vegetables and assorted goods traders, 20 firewood traders,200 milk sellers, 50 sellers of fodder and a section on Matatu stage.

The Integrated Market has sections offering Good and Services including textile, eateries, vegetables, Saloons, Mpesa, household utensils, grains and cereals, milk, Firewood and fodder. Rhamu being a border town, the market serves traders from Ethiopia region five and other Wards in Mandera North and Sala in Lafey sub-county.

After five years of negotiations and dialogue the process of reopening the Rhamu market has borne fruit and the two communities have moved their businesses to the market.

In light of the above, the two communities and the entire Mandera County leadership today converged in Rhamu to celebrate the existing peace and resilience of the communities living in Rhamu after the official opening of the Rhamu integrated market.

We also took the opportunity to open Sala Market for the community living in Sala town in lafey sub-county who are mainly farmers and traders. Being a border town with Rhamu with a bigger population, there is a boom in trading activities thus the construction of Sala market with 24 stalls is a great investment for the people of Sala. We also officially launched Seven hundred and fifty seven (757) IDP houses under the cohesion and integration program.

May peace always prevail in Mandera County and in the Country as a whole!

Peace is always there until elections
Utajua hujui