By WINSTONE CHISEREMI
Tension has gripped hundreds of traders operating their business on a prime plot belonging to a church in Eldoret town after the Uasin Gishu County government issued a two weeks’ notice to bring down all the businesses worth more than 20 million down sitting on the property.
The County, through the county executive committee member for Lands, physical Planning and Urban development Nelson Maritim, has told the traders to move out of the property ahead of the massive demolition exercise.
The demolition exercise is set to affect businesses which include spare parts and painting shops, garages, private go-downs, pools and hotels which employ over 300 people.
The Anglican Church of Kenya, Eldoret Diocese owned prime plot that is situated within the town’s central business district was leased to the traders more than twenty years ago.
Maritim told apprehensive traders and employees that there would be no reverse gear in the intended operation, accusing the proprietors of the affected businesses of constructing the structures without seeking approval from concerned authority.
Appealed to the government
“There is no turning back on the planned demolition of all the structures sitting on the parcel of land in the town belonging to a
church for failing to seek approval from the department of physical planning and urban development,” said Maritim.
Some of the traders conducted by Mwanahabari.co.ke termed the notice as abrupt and appealed to the regional government to give them more time to seek for an alternative place to operate their businesses.
Led by Alice Ouma, a hotel operator, implored upon the authority to rescind its decision to demolish their businesses until December as it was only their source of livelihood.
“Some of us took loans from banks and saccos to start our businesses five years ago which we are supposed to repay by the end of this year. If the county goes ahead with the impending demolition, the banks will come for our household goods and other property for auction to recover their money,” she complained.
Janet Waithera, who deals in spare parts said that her business had just started to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and urged the county to halt the impending demolition of their businesses.
“The county should factor in the issue of resettlement and compensation before carrying out any eviction because we have been
paying for business permit every year since we started our business,” she said.