City askaris yesterday demolished stalls outside Bidii Primary School in Buruburu to improve security in the estate.
City Hall is removing tructures built on road reserves and next to schools. It wants them 100 metres away. It says criminals hide in such stalls at night and ambush passersby.
The officers flattened the whole of Buruburu shopping centre and Mutindwa market. The razing followed a notice by Makadara deputy county commissioner Fredrick Ndunga to have more than 500 traders vacate.
“Inform all your traders who are six metres along the fence of Bidii Primary School to remove their structures and stocks. We’ll be flattening all structures,” Ndunga’s letter read.
Yesterday, police officers were also on site to ensure the operation went on smoothly. The traders complied. They said they were aware of the notice but complained that they had no alternative location. They had depended on the stalls for years to support their families, they said.
The vendors grudgingly removed all their stocks. Some arrived as early as 6am.
“We had heard they were coming this morning,” Tom Oluoch said.
Caroline Wachira said, “I’ve been a trader here since 2000.Trading at Mutindwa market has helped me to educate my children.”
Makadara MP George Aladwa said he had informed the traders of planned demolitions on Wednesday night after receiving a notice from the deputy county commissioner.
He said the operation was not in order but added he could do nothing to stop it.
“I have no obligations involving the demolitions at Mutindwa market because it was already known. The structures were built right outside Bidii Primary School,” he said.
“The Buruburu shopping centre has been there, even when Nairobi governor Mike Sonko was the Makadara MP. They have not built on any road reserve and are not near any school. So why have the stalls been demolished?” Aladwa asked.
Director of operations Peter Mbaya said all demolitions are carried out in compliance with the law. He said Mutindwa market was on a “road reserve and right outside a school.
“We must enforce city laws. We can’t have illegal structures being set up on road reserves and outside schools. We have to protect our children,” Mbaya said.
He said criminals take advantage of the stalls, especially at night, posing security threats to schools and their neighbourhoods.
Mbaya said they will not budge on their bid to make the city safe. The crackdown will continue to “improve security and maintain law and order in all estates,” Mbaya said.
Last week, the askaris demolished about 140 kiosks in Fedha estate, Embakasi East subcounty.
At the Mutindwa market, some stalls had been pulled down when Kura was upgrading the Outering Road early this year.
Traders were told to leave. The area is considered high-risk. A railway runs a few metres away and it has been prone to accidents. In May, two people barely escaped death after a train rammed into their car.
In 2013, a train hit a matatu and four people died. Despite the crashes and pleas to move from the authorities, traders didn’t budge.
Soon after the contractor completed this section of the road, those who had been evicted returned. They defied Kura’s advice and built new structures. It was business as usual.
Yesterday, Mbaya said there will be no room for a relapse into the old order of illegal construction.