City traders cry foul over demolished structures
Traders whose businesses were affected after Kenya Railways demolished structures encroaching on its land in Nairobi West last week have faulted the State corporation for not warning them.
Kenya Railways, however, insists that it had served them with vacation notices three years ago.
According to the corporation, structures erected less than 30 metres from the railways line have encroached on the line reserve.
In the early Friday morning demolitions, more than 30 businesses were affected after an excavator descended on the illegal structures along Aerodrome Road near Nyayo National Stadium.
What was only three days ago a vibrant business centre of salons, a restaurant, boutiques and car bazaar at Prime Place is now a pile of debris, with traders counting losses after goods and businesses worth millions of shillings were destroyed.
Traders who reported to work were shocked to find their businesses flattened and others already on the ground. The majority of them had to pull what remained of their wares from the rubble. Others lost their entire investments.
Traders who spoke to the Nation claimed that the landlord did not ask them to move even after he allegedly received a vacation notice from the landowner in 2016. “Why didn’t they ask us to move elsewhere? Now we have lost our businesses. Where do we go from here?” lamented an affected cosmetics shop owner.
However, the landlord, believed to be Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi, has denied ever receiving any vacation notice from Kenya Railways.
“We have held a legal lease for occupying this land since the year 2000. We have also been paying all the rates due to Kenya Railways without failure. We don’t understand why they ambushed us,” said Mr Wagatharia Micugu, the manager of Prime Place.
The landlord has now vowed to go to court today to seek legal redress.