Curtains are finally set to fall on the iconic Kibuye market in Kisumu as the county government begins the process of transforming it into an ultra-modern complex. Kibuye, which is arguably East Africa\u2019s largest open-air market, is only comparable to Kampala\u2019s Owino market. Kibuye is set to lose its flair as an open-air facility. The county is hoping to increase its revenue from small-scale traders by modernising the market that has stood the test of time for decades. According to the county manager Doris Ombara, the modernisation is set to come with numerous changes, which will greatly transform the lives of Kisumu residents. It has been home to thousands of traders, and always a beehive of activities every Sunday as traders drawn from all parts of the country camp at the market to sell their wares. Traders\u00a0 unable to afford stalls sell their goods in the open spaces within the market. However, a number of traders expressed fear that the market is bound to lose its glory as one of the largest open air markets in the region. \u201cWe hope that the plan will also have provisions to protect the aspect of an open-air market that has always made Kibuye an iconic place and a must-visit for tourists,\u201d said Winnie Auko, a grocer. Ombara, however, is optimistic that the decision to modernise the market will be a major boost for the county government. She told People Daily that the market will contain modern features such as paved roads, modern abolition facilities, a mini-fire station, a mini-health centre, and parking areas for customers and loading and off-loading sites. \u201cKibuye has always been affected by fires, leading to destruction of property worth millions of shillings and loss of jobs due to delay as fire fighters take time to get there. To avoid such losses, we saw it prudent to establish a fire station in the market,\u201d she said. The market will operate on a 24-hour basis as the county intends to set up a perimeter wall and security guards deployed to guard it. Hawking menace The donor-funded project, which has already kicked off at a cost of Sh475 million, Ombara observed, will address the hawking menace in the lake side city. According to her, more traders will be accommodated in the market. \u201cThe market, which hosts about 10,000 people will now have the capacity to hold 20,000 people upon completion. Consequently, there will no longer be hawking in Kisumu,\u201d she revealed. The newly constructed market will also generate more revenue for the county government.\u00a0 \u201cRevenue will go up because we will also be having database of all the traders and where they will be conducting their daily business compared to what was happening before,\u201d she explained. When the idea of the modernisation was mooted, three markets had been targeted\u2013 Kibuye, Jubilee and Otonglo. Yesterday, the city manager said rehabilitation plans for the other markets is still on course. A spot-check by People Daily on the market yesterday established that the fence had been completed. Only a few carpenters were going about their business at the market, hoping that they would be relocated following the modernisation process. John Mwalo, a carpenter, said the modernisation process is welcome and is expected to make the place better. \u201cWe are happy the modernisation process has begun. After completion, we hope to be some of the beneficiaries,\u201d he said. However, Amos Otieno, a tailor, said he has been working at the market since 2000 but now, he is afraid the market could be relocated to a different place. Last week, the county government placed an advert in the newspapers inviting eligible and qualified contractors to bid for the tender to construct the market before August 25.