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Mutindwa roadside stalls demolished

A demolition  squad descended on the roadside structures in Mutindwa, along Outer Ring road, on Tuesday morning, as the Rift Valley Railways made good their threat to clear out encroachments along the rail.

An excavator brought down hundreds of the tin-sheet structures in the Tuesday dawn operation.

The structures are used as business premises for furniture makers, vegetable vendors and second hand car dealers.

The demolition comes after last week’s tragic accident that involved a commuter train and an Umoinner bus at the Mutindwa rail crossing.

According to the traders, the excavator arrived at 4am and started pulling down the structures. They salvaged what they could as police and members of the public looked on.

Three months notice

Some traders complained that the demolitions are in breach of a three-month notice issued by Rift Valley Railways last week after the deadly crash occurred.

“I was called by my watchman early this morning about the demolition. I have tried to salvage my property but some of the structures and iron sheets have been destroyed,” Moses Njagi of Pemuka Investment said.

Mr Njagi said that despite the losses, the demolition had been done in a humane manner and that they are hoping to get an alternative site to conduct their businesses.

Transport Secretary Michael Kamau, while visiting the scene of the deadly Umoinner bus crash, said the government will pull down the structures.

“The accident was partly blamed on invisibility caused by structures constructed along the railway line. We would like to ask these businessmen to start removing these structures here or else we will remove them ourselves. We will demolish all the kiosks along the Railway line to increase visibility of the Railway line by motorists crossing the Railway line,” Mr Kamau had said.

In the accident, 12 people died and scores were injured after a commuter train rammed a bus which had stalled at the Mutindwa level crossing.

High court

In May last year, the traders moved to the High Court to stop the government’s move to flatten Mutindwa market. They sought to restrain the government from further demolishing their stalls and evicting them. The case is still pending in court.