NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 5 – Traders operating along the railway line near the Mutindwa market were counting losses on Tuesday after the government demolished their structures on Monday night.
The structures were pulled down under tight security from both regular and Administration Police officers.
The demolitions follow a directive by Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau after an accident involving a train and a matatu claimed 12 lives last week.
However, the traders at the market and those with structures on Outer Ring Road protested, demanding that the government relocate them to another site.
Mutindwa Traders Association Chairman Titus Ndegwa said more than 600 traders were affected in Monday night’s demolition.
Speaking to Capital FM News, Ndegwa condemned the act saying the government should have issued a three months’ notice before the demolition.
“This market has been here since 1991 and most of the traders here depend on this market to pay for their house rent and to cater for all their daily needs,” he said.
“We were in a position of cooperating with the Railways company so that we can allow a smooth coordination.”
While terming the act as inhuman, the chairman said the government should provide a solution to their problems.
“We need a market, even if it is 10 metres from the Kenya Railways land to build small tables where we can lay our merchandise,” he appealed.
“Even after the minister’s assurance that he will give us a three-month notice, a week is not over before it has happened.”
“We won’t sue anyone but they should create a room for negotiation.”
One of the affected traders, Nahashon Soi asked the Nairobi County Government to support all those affected, saying they have been paying fees on weekly basis to the County Council.
“We have been paying taxes… let them now use the money to build a market for us,” he said. “We used to give revenue twice a week; on Tuesday and Friday.”
The demolition comes after the Mutindwa accident which occurred when the driver of the matatu belonging to UmoInner Sacco which had just picked passengers from Umoja tried to cross the railway line while ignoring the oncoming train.
The bus company has now moved to court seeking orders to have over 150 vehicles seized after the accident released.
The firm argues that it is incurring unjustified and unwarranted punitive losses of millions of shillings everyday its vehicles remain grounded on illegal and unlawful basis.