Anxiety has gripped hundreds of Jua kali traders operating their businesses on a prime church plot in Eldoret town following an eviction notice issued by the county government.
The jua kali traders expressed fears that they would lose businesses worth more than Sh20 million if the county government enforces the two-week notice to demolish their business structures erected on the disputed piece of land.
Uasin Gishu County Executive Committee Member, CECM for Lands, Physical Planning and Urban development Nelson Maritim directed the traders to move out of the property before the demolition order is enforced.
Some of the businesses that will be adversely affected include spare parts and paint shops, garages, stores, pool tables, shelters and hotels which employ more than 300 people.
Maritim said the premises erected on the plot owned by the Anglican Church of Kenya, Eldoret Diocese were not approved by the relevant county government agencies and vowed that the eviction would proceeded and there was no reverse gear on the intended operation.
The prime plot is situated within the town’s central business district and was leased to the traders by ACK more than 20 years ago.
“There is no turning back on the planned demolition of the illegal structures for failing to seek approval from the department of physical planning and urban development,” said Maritim.
However, traders who talked to KNA termed the eviction notice as abrupt and appealed to the county government to give them more time to seek alternative places to operate their businesses.
Alice Ouma, who operates a hotel inside the plot appealed to the authority to rescind its decision to demolish their businesses until December as it was their only source of livelihood.
She said some of the traders took bank loans and Sacco loans to start their businesses five years ago and are supposed to repay by the end of this year fearing that if the county goes ahead with the impending demolition, the banks will come for their household goods and other property for auction to recover their money.
Another trader Janet Waithera, who deals in vehicle 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 until further notice.