NEMA defends mechanics eviction

April 2, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 2 – The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has said that it was justified to evict waste management workers and mechanics from the Globe Cinema roundabout on Wednesday, because adequate notices were served.

NEMA’s Director General Muusya Mwinzi said on Thursday that the eviction was part of the authority’s efforts to clean up the Nairobi River to restore sanity in the city.

“No one should claim he was not served with a notice, they were all notified and were supposed to move,” he stressed.

Speaking during a ceremony to flag off four vehicles donated by the Royal Danish Embassy at their headquarters, Mr Mwinzi said the authority had already identified an alternative site for waste management in Kariobangi.

“They all know this arrangement and if they followed the procedures, there would have been no violence there,” he said.

Though he said he regretted the aggression meted out on the waste management workers and mechanics, the NEMA director said they ‘still have no option but to obey the law.’

“There are no two ways about it. Laws must be obeyed, because the river has to be cleaned,” he added.

The workers on Kijabe Street were being evicted to pave way for the cleaning of the Nairobi River.

He said the authority in conjunction with the city council had already issued notices to all the people operating within a distance of ten metres from the River.

“This applies to all the three rivers, which include Nairobi River, Ngong River and Mathare River. They must all vacate because we are determined to complete our work,” he said.

Six people, including a policeman were seriously injured when mechanics and workers at a waste management site on Kijabe Street engaged law enforcers in running battles to protest their eviction.

Three of those wounded were shot by the police while another was hit by a tear gas canister as they rejected plans to move them from the riparian land.

Three other protesters were rushed to hospital unconscious after they were saved from the murky waters of Nairobi River, where they nearly drowned while trying to evade arrest.

“We regret what they underwent, but then they must know that we care for their interests and that is why we have identified an alternative land for them. They should just move,” the NEMA boss said.



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