Small-scale traders and police in Kitengela town yesterday engaged police in running battles following demolition of makeshift structures by the Kajiado County government.
Trouble started when the traders reported to open their businesses only to find the structures flattened. Chanting anti-county government slogans,the agitated traders barricaded the Nairobi-Namanga road and lit bonfires causing huge traffic snarl-up. Police engaged the traders in running battles with rowdy youth hurling stones at the officers, who were forced to shoot in the air to disperse them.
The 400 traders claimed the structures were illegally destroyed as they had a court injunction barring the demolition. “We have lost millions of shillings after the destruction of our businesses.
It is unfair because we had a court order barring the county from demolishing our structures,” said Ruth Kariuki, a trader, adding that they duly pay revenue to the county government as required by the law.
The county government, however, said the structures earmarked for demolition are on road reserve. “We cannot have a banana republic where traders don the town with illegal structures in the name of doing business.
The traders were issued with a notice and the structures were already earmarked for demolition. We gave them sufficient time to relocate but they have refused.
Our towns must have a plan and we will not allow breach of set rules and regulations,”said governor Joseph Ole Lenku. More structures have been earmarked for demolition in the populous town…..