President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday opened a new battlefront with Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho when he asked traders at Kongowea Market not to pay taxes.

Kongowea is the biggest market at the Coast and one of the county’s key revenue earners. It was renovated by the national government before being handed over to the county government last year.

Addressing the traders at the market on Monday, President Kenyatta, who was flanked by his deputy William Ruto and Nyali MP Mohamed Ali, said there was no need for the traders to pay levies. The President said the new market was built by the national government at a cost of Sh500 million and that the National Youth Service will from next week embark on cleaning it.

“This market was built by funds from the national government. It was built for the traders and not for an individual. We will investigate and see if it’s not being used well,” said the President.

“Do not pay until you get services. I am asking police officers here not to be used to harass and arrest the traders who will not pay the taxes,” he added. He directed that individuals harassing the traders be arrested.