EXTEND LINE TO KISUMU

Railways evicts Nakuru traders, reclaims project land

Massive losses after a night of destruction on Kenya Railays land in Nakuru, traders weep

In Summary
  • Evictions started about 1am, 500 metres of businesses along Geoffrey Kamau Road demolished under heavy police guard.
  • In mid-July when Sh3.8bn rehabilitation of medium-gauge railway started, KR Estates Manager Patrick Nzomo said corporation had issued vacate notices to business community in March.
Ongoing demolitions in Nakuru by Kenya Railways Corporation.
TORN DOWN: Ongoing demolitions in Nakuru by Kenya Railways Corporation.
Image: BEN NDONGA

Business owners along Geoffrey Kamau Road in Nakuru suffered massive losses after their property was destroyed on early Sunday morning by the Kenya Corporation.

It had issued a vacate notice in March for Sh3.8 billion rehabilitation of the medium-gauge railway and road project, some property owners admitted.

Businesses pulled down included night clubs, hotels, restaurants, car bazaars, garages, a tyre centre, petrol stations and other busiesses. 

Evictions started at about 1am; demolitions covered about 500 metres of  businesses along busy busy Geoffrey Kamau Road, under heavy police guard.

 

 

The demolitions are to pave way for rehabilitation of the Nakuru-Kisumu medium-gauge rail line and the Sh160 billion expansion of the  Limuru-Nakuru road from Lironi all the to Mau Summit.

Rana Motors Bazaar owner Yunus Hamza said he lost

more than Sh5 million propery, including items lost or destroyed.

“I had just sold five vehicles on Saturday by the time we were told to quickly move out and the owners who had paid deposits were yet to pick vehicles,"  he said.

He said his company spent Sh350,000 to move 120 cars from the yard, adding he did not know where the buyers were to pick their cars on Sunday.

Hamza said tenants held 15 to 20-year leases and condemned the railways corporation and government for not allowing them enough time to move out.

“Businesses suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic and just when business was picking up, the same government that is encouraging people to invest destroys people's enterprises in a whiff," Hamza said.

Businessman Ndichu Kuria said they were casually and informally given a maximum of five hours to move their property.


Ongoing demolitions in Nakuru by Kenya Railways Corporation.
DEMOLITIONS: Ongoing demolitions in Nakuru by Kenya Railways Corporation.
Image: BEN NDONGA

"Some youths came and marked the buildings for demolition at around 2:30pm on Saturday and warned the structures would be pulled down by 1am," businessman Ndichu Kuria said.

He said insufficient notice was given to vacate multimillion businesses. He said hundreds of people, including women food hawkers, would be out of work.

He cited The Place Grill Park owner as the biggest loser, since in addition to infrastructure he had spent a lot of money to stock for the weekend before the Saurday night raid.

“The butchery was fully packed and he had just ordered a beer stock of Sh700,000 and he has been wondering where to take the items. How does he store the perishables including beef, chicken and fish?” Kuria asked.

Resident DJ at one of the night clubs, David Njoroge, said hundreds of people including hawkers were jobless.

However, the lease contract has a rider stating that the KR can repossess the land after a 90-day notice.

In mid-July, KR Estates Manager Patrick Nzomo said the corporation had issued a vacate notice to the business community in March.

Businesses started thriving on the railway land in 2012, sprouting an economy that included a bus termini, three car bazaars, two petrol stations, a mega nightclub complete with accommodation, a tyre centre, garages and several restaurants.

On Saturday evening, the tenants were frantically carting away their property to salvage what they could

Tankers were drawing fuel from two petrol stations marked for demolition.

Traffic was snarled up along Geoffrey Kamau Road, which is part of the Nakuru-Eldoret highway on Saturday evening due to the demolition.

(Edited by V. Graham)