Small-scale traders in Kahawa Sukari, Kiambu County are counting losses after waking up to find their sheds flattened by a bulldozer on Tuesday morning January 3, 2023.
Among the destroyed structures is a public toilet belonging to the Kiambu County government and area Member of County Assembly’s office which were pulled down in the middle of the night when everyone was asleep.
The demolition comes in the wake of a protracted dispute over the ownership of a prime half-acre parcel of land adjacent to the nearby Quickmart supermarket and a matatu terminus off the Thika superhighway.
Owners of the businesses pointed an accusing finger at a local developer whom they accused of carrying out the demolition without issuing any notice or having a court order in effect.
The traders who included Mpesa agents said they incurred cumulative losses running into several millions of shillings and appealed to Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi to intervene.
“This is not only brutal but also inhuman since those who carried out the exercise did not bother to notify us so that we can remove our wares,” Solomon Nderitu, a plumber who is one of the afflicted persons, said.
Samuel Mwaniki, the chairman of Kahawa Sukari Residents and Plot Owners Association said he received a call a 1.30 am when the demolition squad struck using a bulldozer and proceeded to the site only to find all the structures flattened.
He termed the move as criminal as the demolished toilet was the only such facility in the busy and densely populated area and leaves members of the public highly inconvenienced.
“This public toilet was built in 2011 by the then Ruiru Municipal council and it stands on a public car park used by residents and matatu operators. Unfortunately, some people illegally allocated the plot to a private developer,” Mwaniki said.
Area MCA Kennedy Odhiambo said he incurred losses amounting to over Ksh200,000 including office furniture and computers among other items.
He said Kahawa Sukari Ltd initially sold 1,600 acres of land in the area and set aside 16 acres for public utilities which they later converted into change of user status and started selling them.
“I am giving them seven days to surrender all the public utility plots that they are holding, failure to which we shall take legal action,” the MCA said, noting that parcels of land belonging to schools and other institutions have been grabbed.