The Star (Nairobi)

18 July 2012

Kenya: Thika Stalls Brought Down By Council

Traders in Thika Town woke up yesterday morning to find their stalls had been demolished The traders had just put up the stalls while others were putting final touches to their stalls for opening soon. Joseph Mwangi, a trader affected by the demolition, said they were allocated space to build the stalls by the municipal council three weeks. "No notice was given to us yet they (the council) are the ones who gave us permission to build," he said, adding that they were allocated the plots after they were evicted from government quarters.

Julius Kimani, another trader, said some of his colleagues had incurred great losses after buying the plots for between Sh250, 000 and Sh300, 000 each . The plots had allegedly been issued out for free by the council but unscrupulous individuals had sold them to others. A section of traders however welcomed the demolition saying they had been sidelined in the allocation. "We had been ordered to move by the council and others allowed to build permanent stalls," said Maina Mwangi.

Thika Town Clerk John Mutie said the structures were demolished as they were permanent. He said the council in its performance contract had had agreed to settle 500 traders but space was not enough. He said it was agreed that the traders temporality move to the road reserve as the council look into ways of solving the problem. "But instead of erecting temporary structures as agreed, they put up permanent structure which the council cannot condone" said Mutie.

He added that they were still exploring for spaces to accommodate the traders, saying they had been impatient with the council in their erecting the permanent structures. He said the council will be meeting to deliberate on the matter further. Meanwhile, the traders admonished local political leaders, who they accused of taking advantage of them.

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