NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 10 – Drama ensued Monday night after members of the Apple Cross Residents Association in Lavington raided the 51 Lounge and ordered patrons to leave.
Residents of the serene suburb in Nairobi want the pub closed, complaining it has become a nuisance.
The residents say their once quiet neighbourhood has been turned into a double parking lot, and commercial sex workers now share their driveway.
According to the residents – mostly with young families – they are forced to hop over used condoms on the road leading to their homes despite contending with the noisy nights.
“Where will our children go?” frantic residents were heard asking the patrons.
“Where we are living is a residential area but unfortunately what has happened is that we have a commercial venture that has been set up right inside a residential area,” one of the residents, who did not want to be named told Capital FM News.
It was shock for many patrons who had already ordered drinks – locals and foreigners – after the about 20 residents said enough is enough and proceeded to the place and ordered them to take their last drink, and depart.
“Would you want this to happen to your neighbourhood?” they were heard asking.
He said he was not aware of change of use of the property.
“If it happened, it should have been put in a daily gazette notice to say that they are changing and if there are any issues, there will be response from either the neighbours or other parties concerned.”
Another said, “imagine like on Friday last week, I was coming back home with my three daughters but I could not even enter into my house since my driveway had been blocked by vehicles. To my dismay, in one of the cars, there were illicit activities going on there. We have commercial sex workers in the area.”
You can imagine children in a neighbourhood that has been peaceful growing with such kind of activities around us. Noise levels are also high and yet children need to do their home work, sleep and wakeup early to go to school. We are not fighting the business but we want the law to be followed.”
Patrons caught unawares were given up to 11pm to finish up their drinks and leave.
Documents seen by Capital FM News indicate that the business was meant to be a restaurant operating from 5pm to 11pm, a thing the locals says has been blatantly ignored.
A senior worker at the club however refuted the claims saying the music levels are always moderate and that they were operating legally. “Someone just wants to bring the business down,” he said.
Police officers were deployed about 40 minutes to 11pm to ensure law and order prevailed during the “evacuation” which they were opposed to.
“You people should go get a court order instead,” one officer told the residents who stayed put to their demands – the place must be closed.
Dagoretti OCPD Rashid Mohamed was to later engage them through a phone call, where he admitted being aware of their complaints and promised to address them.
“There should be no loud music whatsoever,” the police boss assured.
He was however against the ‘raid’ since the owner “didn’t make enough money”, a statement that didn’t go well with the residents.
At the end, the restaurant was closed at 11pm. After the patrons had left, the residents said a word of prayer and headed for their homes for a quiet night.