NAIROBI, November 1 – Government bulldozers early Saturday morning descended on Nakumatt Thika road and Roy Properties Limited on Roysambu roundabout and demolished both structures to make space for the busy highway’s expansion.
Visions Restaurant and Kenol Petrol which were adjacent to the supermarket were also earmarked for demolition.
The demolition, which was being carried out by the Ministry of Public Works, was done under tight security provided by General Service Unit and Administration police officer who had a hard time keeping members of the public at bay.
Nakumatt Thika Road branch manager Thomas Kamau said that his establishment had not received a notice of the impending demolitions a claim which was echoed by Nakumatt Operations Director Thiagarajan Ramamurthy.
“We did not receive any notice, they just came early in the morning and started demolishing,” said Mr Kamau whose branch stands to lose an estimated Sh500 million.
Mr Ramamurthy and the rest of Nakumatt top brass held a crisis meeting to formulate their response to the shop’s destruction.
Roy Properties Chairman Muktah Omar told Capital Newsbeat that the government was in breach of a court order which was issued on May 21 stopping the government from bringing down the office block which houses Roy Transport Limited.
“There is no justice in this country because the order restricts any form of demolition taking place here,” said Mr Omar who gave out copies of the court order to the press.
“This company supports over 400 families, what’s going to happen to them today?” he wondered as his company’s heavy commercial vehicles drove out of the compound.
The court order reads in part: “An order for prohibition against the Ministry of Public Works and Ministry of Roads prohibiting them from interfering with the applicants’ quiet enjoyment/possession of LR. No.20174 and or issuing further demolition orders against the applicant’s property.”
Henry Mureithi, the proprietor of Visions Restaurant and a tenant of Kenol Petrol station said that he was not aware of any impending demolition and was at a loss as to why he was not informed.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen now, I’ve lost everything. Where will I go? Maybe heaven, I don’t know,” said Mr Mureithi.
Various other establishments along the busy Thika Road are also within the crosshairs of the Works Ministry whose demolition exercise will pave way for the creation of a super highway.
An official from the Ministry said all the premises had been issued a vacate notice because they encroached on the road reserve.
Meanwhile, the National Community Based Organisation Council has condemned the demolitions saying the Ministry of Roads has shown little concern for ordinary Kenyans.
Chairman Tom Aosa told Capital News that hundreds of Kenyans have now lost their only source of income.