Traders in Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD) are counting losses after their structures were pulled down by officers from Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).
This is after the land owner – Mustafa Hebatula Investment Limited – accused the traders of trespass and illegal occupation of the piece of land along Ronald Ngala street.
Acting on a court order, NMS inspectorate officers flattened the more than 20 exhibition tents that had been pitched at the parcel of land.
But the traders have accused the Major General Mohamed Badi-led administration of demolishing their structures, which have been there for the last five months, without any prior eviction notice.
Some of the traders said they woke up in the morning only to find their tents pulled down and their items carted away.
“We received no notice of an impending eviction only to receive a call in the morning that our tents had been flattened. This is illegal and amounts to harassment,” said one of the traders by the name Jane Mwangi.
The traders said their wares have been taken to the county government’s warehouse in Dagoretti and others at the General Stores Yard along Race Course road.
However, NMS Head of Enforcement Dr Mark Leleruk said they acted since the land owner had legal documents showing ownership of the parcel.
He said they conducted a site visit on January 19, 2021, after receiving a complaint from Atonga & Company, representing the landowner, on illegal and occupation parcel of land LR 209/693 – Ronald Ngala on December 16, 2020.
“Our function is to enhance enforcement and the landowner wanted the said illegal exhibition tents removed and that is what led to the action taken early this morning. The traders have been there illegally,” said Mr Leleruk.
Nonetheless, the traders are now threatening legal action to get compensation on the goods lost during the exercise.
“We hear it is the inspectorate officers are the ones who took out items. If we don’t recover our lost goods, we shall seek for legal assistance to get compensated,” said one of the traders.
In 2018, traders who had been conducting their trade in the same spot lost their valuables after a building they were operating was brought down.
The building housed about 30 stalls stocked with clothes, shoes and beauty products.