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January 23, 2019

Police block youths in battle for control of public toilets

A public toilet in  Nairobi.Photo/file
A public toilet in Nairobi.Photo/file

Police blocked people from using public toilets yesterday after a management dispute disrupted operations.

The officers were deployed to block youths who had taken over the management of some toilets in the Central Business District. The youths had denied the previous operators access to the facilities.

The officers were acting on a court order obtained by the operators to kick out the youths who took over management in March.

Affected toilets included those at Muthurwa, Machakos Country Bus Station, OTC and Bus Station.

“Goons took over these facilities illegally. That is why we went to court. The police are here to remove them,” Tom Makale said.

He is the chairman of the Public Toilets Operators Association of Kenya.

Some social media users had claimed the county had taken over the facilities after pictures of police officers surrounding the toilets circulated online.

Environment executive Larry Wambua and operations director Peter Mbaya denied the claims.

“We are not involved in what happened. This issue involves two groups — goons and official operators. I call them goons because they did not apply to run the toilets,” Mbaya said.

Two weeks ago, Governor Mike Sonko ordered the withdrawal of charges for use of the toilets and threatened to hire a firm to run them if management wrangles were not resolved.

Wambua said the process of contracting the firm was on. “Should we intend to take over, we will give a clear notice so everybody is aware,” he said.

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