Hundreds of Kisumu traders who had encroached on Kenya Railways (KR) land on Sunday rushed to safeguard their property ahead of the expiry of a midnight notice.
The panic also caught up with a number of people who have illegally erected structures around Maseno University’s city campus which neighbours the property.
According to the notice issued last month, the occupants were given time to move their businesses out of the private property to pave way for revitalisation, expansion and operation of Kisumu Inland Port.
The notice issued by the corporation’s acting managing director Philip Mainga noted that failure to comply by August 12 would compel KR to forcibly evict the traders and take over possession.
The most affected businesses include food joints at Winmart market, cyber cafes, barber shops and salons, pubs and tailoring shops among others.
Roseline Odera, who has operated an interior decoration shop for the last 12 years opposite Tuskys Lolwe Supermarket, however called on the county government to consider giving them an alternative place.
“While we are not resisting the move to evict us from this place, we are requesting the county government to build affordable stalls and give the affected people the first priority,” she said.
She said it was unfortunate that the names of the displaced traders had not been recorded.
“This could give rise to unscrupulous people emerging and demanding to be considered should there be any arrangement to resettle us in future,” she said.
Felix Siguda, who has operated an ICT business at Winmart for the past 10 years, also expressed worries about his next move.
“I don’t know where I will go with my 10 students who were currently studying at my institution,” he said.
Traders scrambled to salvage their merchandise while others demolished their temporary structures to avoid incurring further losses as word went round that there could be demolitions on Sunday night.
The Kenya Railways notice cautioned that they will not bear any liability for any loss and damage for those who will fail to vacate by the expiry of the notice.
Others who have been affected include all tenants with temporary occupation licences and short leases along Akamba Line Road and the popular Lwang’ni beach.