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January 16, 2019

Small traders lose Sh20m in roads authority demolitions

A trader operates in the open air following demolition of stalls at Kanyonyoo on April 28. /MUSEMBI NZENGU
A trader operates in the open air following demolition of stalls at Kanyonyoo on April 28. /MUSEMBI NZENGU

More than 100 traders whose kiosks were pulled down by the national highways authority say they lost Sh20 million property.

The Kenya National Highways Authority demolished stalls in Kanyonyoo market on the Thika-Garrisa highway in Kitui county more than two weeks ago.

Kenha said they were erected on a road reserve.

Traders’ chairman Denis Mbangu on Tuesday said the demolitions drove many small-scale businesspeople to misery.

Mbangu said 116 traders lost their property. He said the value of the kiosks was about Sh3.5 million.

Shop wares and other property destroyed by Kenha bulldozers amounted to Sh16.5 million, bringing the total loss to Sh20 million.


"The inhumane action by the Kenha on April 28 ruined the lives of many families who solely depended on the kiosks,” Mbangu said.

"Traders can no longer put food on the table and have no money for their children’s school fees."

Some of the businesspeople have returned to work, selling their wares out in the open under the burning sun.

"The determined traders are coping by operating in the open air as you can see," Mbangu said.

He asked the Kitui county government to quickly identify an alternative market for the traders as Governor Charity Ngilu promised on May 2 when she visited to assess the damage.

Ngilu criticised Kenha for its "heartless" action.

The governor said she was devastated upon learning the Kenha bulldozers and police officers had descended on the kiosks of poor traders under cover of darkness and razed.

"The affected traders can only resume normal operations when Governor Ngilu makes good her promise to get us an ideal place to operate," Kanyonyoo traders’ chairman Mbangu said.

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