Wa Matangi loses prime business bazaar on railway reserve

George Kebaso @Morarak

Kiambu Senator Kimani wa Matangi’s multi-million-shillings Prime Place business bazaar was brought down on Friday morning in government demolitions aimed at clearing illegal structures on railway reserve.

Wa Matangi witnessed part of the demolitions that begun at 5.30am before leaving for a Senate meeting at Windsor hotel. The government was effecting a pending notice that has been renewed three times since it was first issued in 2016. 

Nairobi Regional Commissioner Wilson Njega said the demolitions were long overdue since the government had made it clear twice, in March and September 2018,  that it wants to modernise the 19th century rail track.

“The government through a multi-agency committee has been working to remove structures that have encroached on the railway line in readiness for modernisation of the track. Funds have already been set aside to bring in new commuter trains for the city transport connection and traffic decongestion. Thus, the demolitions are timely to allow this programme to begin,” Njega said.

He said the demolitions started on Thursday and will continue along the railway reserve between Mbagathi and Bunyala roads: Darajani-Kamukunji, through Kibera Drive.

“Structures on these areas will be cleared. Already structures along the Soweto, Laini Saba and Mashimoni areas have been cleared,” he said.

A Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) notice seen by People Daily confirmed that notices were given calling for the proprietors of the businesses to vacate by October 1, 2018.

“Reference is made to earlier notice published in The Standard of 20/03/2018 and note that all those living or doing business in the railway reserve between Nairobi, Bunyala Road Bridge through Nyayo Stadium area, Madaraka, Soweto East, Laini Saba to Mashimoni are required to vacate the said corridor by 01/10/2018,” reads the notice signed by KRC’s Relocation Management Unit team leader Vitalis Ongongo.

Wa Matangi, however said he has never been served with any notice and has a lease of 99 years with KRC.

Through Prime Place general manager Michugu wa Gacharia, the senator said he has paid KRC Sh200,000 per month upfront for the leasehold period and, in any case, the corporation owes him millions of shillings.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to loose property amounting to millions of shillings this way. We have 150 employees who depend directly from this investment. We have tenants, whose merchandise has been lost,” said Wa Gacharia while displaying lease papers the proprietor had entered with KRC for the investment near Nyayo Stadium.

Business ventures including a modern car wash, pharmacies, a carpet cleaning company, restaurants, beauty and cosmetics shops, among others, were brought down in the morning raid.

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