Businesses, houses demolished to pave way for road expansion

Tuesday October 23 2018

Nakuru demolitions

Structures sitting on road reserves were demolished on the Nakuru-Nyahururu highway. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

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The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has embarked on a crackdown to reclaim encroached road reserves in Nakuru County. The agency on Tuesday evening started demolishing structures built on a road reserve along the Nakuru-Nyahururu highway.

"We had issued the owners with a notice to demolish the structures but, by the expiry of the ultimatum, they had not relocated,” said KeNHA Public Relations Officer Charles Njogu. According to KeNHA, the exercise seeks to pave way for the expansion of the key road that connects Nakuru, Nyandarua, Laikipia and Central Kenya. “The demolitions will be extended to other parts of the county,” he said.

KeNHA carried out demolition of structures including shops, kiosks and residential houses built along the road that connects Nakuru and Nyahururu towns in Laikipia County.

However, the business owners said they were not served with notices and threatened to sue KeNHA for their losses. Mr James Kariuki, a trader, said he was in his shop when the demolition began. “Officers from KeNHA came at around 3 pm and demolished my shop, destroying all my goods. I requested them to allow me to remove some of the items, but they refused,” said Mr Kariuki. Property estimated at about Sh30 million was destroyed, according to the traders.

Residents took issue with KeNHA, saying they should have been given more time because construction was not going to kick off immediately.

The operation, which was carried out in the presence of armed policemen, caught many of the traders and home owners unawares.

Also destroyed was the magnificent White House building. In the 1990s, the house was decorated with US flags, painted all white and christened the "White House".

The building was once owned by a Kenyan who had lived in the US for many years and who, upon returning home in the early 90s, decided to relive the memories by putting up the building. The proprietor had put up an entertainment joint in the building.

On its wall, the building contained the names of all former American presidents.

The building, which also housed a bar, was sub-divided into two sections, which represented the two major US political parties: Democrats and Republicans.