NAIROBI, October 31 – Traders within the Nairobi Central Business District are up in arms over what they term “a worrying upsurge in robberies.”,
The traders who met under the banner of the Nairobi Central Business District Association on Friday said the robberies were being executed in broad daylight by a gang of people who appeared to be in their mid twenties.
“This month alone we have had 60 robberies. On an average day we have about two to three robberies with some resulting in death. One of the gangs even has a female boss who comes with seven commandos. The most worrying thing is that traders now want to close down,” Mr Muriuki said.
He wondered how the gangs were able to take over buildings in the city centre ransack, and rob occupants without the knowledge of the police within business hours.
“You cannot have that happening in a capital city,” he added.
He said customers were also afraid of going to certain shops in the CBD further threatening plans to turn Nairobi into a 24-hour economy.
“These are very daring gangs that strike in the afternoon. How can we turn Nairobi into a 24-hour economy when gangs come at 2.30pm?” he posed.
He told reporters that businesses were concerned that the gangs were operating with impunity raising fears of collaboration with law enforcers. “One of the gang members recently dared the shop owner to trigger the alarm, saying that they were not scared.”
He said the NCBDA would seek audience with the Police Commissioner over the matter since in one of the cases Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTV) footage had been handed over to his officers yet no action had been taken.
“We (authorities) are very good at enforcing traffic laws and clamping people’s cars. But we can’t concentrate on these activities when traders are not operating because of fear. Very soon we will not have those cars parked for you (authorities) to clamp.”
He said there were instances in the past when the police responded quickly to robbery incidents but said there had been a downward turn.
“It calls for a total overhaul of this system that is looking after us. We do not doubt the capability of our security agencies but standards have been compromised. Someone somewhere is not doing their job,” he said.
He also disclosed that a document for the installation CCTV of on the streets of Nairobi was expected to be complete next week.
“NCBDA appointed a consultant to produce detailed design and specifications for a CCTV system. When the document is ready we shall present it to the Nairobi Metropolitan Minister and the Minister for State for Internal Security. We hope to implement the project in January 2009.”
The installation of the CCTV’s is estimated to cost Sh1 billion.
“We are asking the government and the private sector to fund this project. Businesses have a stake in this and the necessary laws need to be enacted to facilitate their participation in such projects,” he said.
Mr Muriuki however said Installation of the CCTV’s was not the ultimate solution to robberies in the Central Business District.
“Even when we have CCTV’s it is useless unless the police can act on the information they get from the footage.”