LUNAR PARK TOO?

Railways Club traders mourn demolitions for expressway

A cleaner at Kageco Motors said the demolition was devastating as it worsened impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Summary

• The demolitions took place at 11pm, traders said. Mostly car yards affected after eight-hour notice. 

• Reports indicate that Lunar Park may not be spared.

Some of the flattened structures at Kenya Railways Club on September 16.
DEMOLISHED: Some of the flattened structures at Kenya Railways Club on September 16.
Image: GILBERT KOECH

Traders within Kenya Railways Club on Wednesday were counting losses following the demolition of structures to pave way for the Nairobi Expressway.

Demolition started at 11pm on Tuesday, according to business people.

"They descended at night with a huge contingent of security from the National Police Service," a businessman who requested anonymity told the Star as he salvaged the little property left.

 
 

Mostly car yards were flattened, he said.

They were making good money despite the corona pandemic, he said.

The car yards selling new and used vehicles included Daewon Motors, Double X Motors, H.H. Hussein Motors Limited, Mile Motors and Kegeco Motors.

Most of the businesses had moved their vehicles after they were given a strict deadline on Tuesday to remove their property while police watched from a distance. They had about eight hours' notice.

A cleaner at Kageco Motors said the demolition was devastating as it was worsening the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"How would you explain this coming at a time of severe impact on the economy brought about by the pandemic?" a middle-aged worker asked the Star as he waited to access the premises.

He worked at the car yard for eight months. Car yard owners declined to speak to the press.

 

On Wednesday morning, a dozen police officers kept guard at the gate, only allowing hotel workers into the highly guarded premises.

"We do not allow anyone in. We only allow hotel workers. Go and find out finer details at Kenya Railways headquarters," a senior police officer told the Star. The demolition is said to pave the way for the expressway.

Pharis Ngotho, the acting CEO for Kenya Railways staff pension scheme, had written to those occupying the premises.

Ngotho said, " Further to the Gazette notice no 2161 of 2020, a presidential order has been issued to Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) to enter into and acquire premises (Nairobi Railways Club) beginning 15th September for the commencement of the project Nairobi Express Way Roads."

Those occupying the area had been given eight hours' notice to vacate the premises, otherwise they would be forcibly ejected.

National Land Commission chairperson Gershom Otachi had on March 12 through Gazette notice No 2161 given notice the government intended to do compulsory acquisition of some parcels to allow the multibillion-shilling project to proceed.

Reports indicate Lunar Park may not be spared.

Business people at the property near Uhuru Park claim Kenya Railways has not been issued a notice to vacate and compensation to vacate.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Railways Lunar Park Traders Association chairman Clifford Ngwala called on the Kenya Railways managing director ro be straightforward about the eviction.

“We are legitimate business owners who have been here for the last 10 years paying our rent to the Kenya Railways Retirement Benefit Scheme without fail and we demand a clear plan for our eviction and compensation before we leave the premises,” Ngwala said.

The amusement park features leisure and gaming activities for families and children.

(Edited by V. Graham)