, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 5 – There was a major standoff between City Council of Nairobi (CCN) workers and those from the Kenyatta International Conference on Tuesday morning, over the repossession of a parking lot within KICC.
Drama unfolded when council workers attempted to access the KICC grounds to collect parking fees but found the entrance blocked by a hired private security firm.
City Hall workers who began collecting parking fees from motorists on Monday after the Town Clerk announced seizure of the grounds over outstanding dues, this time found guards with dogs at the gates.
The council reacted by dispatching its askaris in full riot gear to both parking entrances, raising tension between the two groups.
“I know that you are doing your work but I would like to appeal to you to wait for the Town Clerk who is on his way here. I know you are demanding your rights but let us operate within the law,” the Director of City Inspectorate said as he tried to calm the workers while negotiations between the KICC and City Hall management went on.
The workers however broke down gates into KICC and proceeded to clamp vehicles parked there as they awaited the outcome of the meeting.
“We want our askaris to protect us as we do our work because we will be deducted a full day’s pay (if we fail to work),” the workers charged.
A councillor interviewed at the site told Capital FM News that the council is broke and that is why it is exploring all available avenues to tap lost revenue.
“Now that they have prevented us from entering, we will also bar them from entering and going out. This is because they owe us money to the tune of Sh500 million in debts,” he said.
“That parking in dispute is ours but the monies go to KICC. They take the money and they pay us nothing and this has put the council in the red. There is totally no money and salaries have not been paid despite it being the fifth of the month.”
Town Clerk Roba Duba on Monday announced that the disputed ground was public land whose management should be left to the council.
According to the council, KICC owes it Sh26 million and it has now claimed the parking lot, arguing that the management had failed to remit parking fees for more than two years.
The parking space under contention is commonly referred to as the COMESA grounds and is adjacent to Parliament Road.
Motorists are charged Sh250 per day to park their vehicles with discounts given for monthly and annual subscriptions.
City Hall had issued a two-week notice to land rate defaulters with failure of repayment resulting in the authority repossessing properties belonging to them.
Top on the council’s list of defaulters are public institutions such as the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation which owes Sh247 million, the Kenya Cultural Centre Sh275 million and the Kenya Railways Sh41 million.
The council lists its corporate defaulters as Road Master Carriers who allegedly owe Sh47 million and Jandu Investments Sh31 million.
City Hall which is owed Sh101 billion by rate payers has published a notice of intention to forward the details of about 74 notorious rate payment defaulters mainly government departments and parastatals to credit reference bureaus.
Its strained cash flow situation has seen it default on a Sh212 million loan it borrowed from the United States Agency for International Development (USAid).