Reprieve for Uhuru market traders as court halts eviction

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Structures at Uhuru Market along Jogoo Road being demolished in March 2021.[Courtesy]

Traders at Nairobi’s Uhuru Market on Jogoo Road have received a temporary reprieve after a Milimani court gave orders stopping a private developer from evicting them.

The order ensures that the traders are not evicted from the land until the hearing and determination of their application.

On Wednesday evening, Makadara MP George Aladwa and Maringo-Hamza ward MCA Mark Ndung`u accompanied by several traders, served the Nairobi regional Police Commander Augustine Nthumbi with court papers for police to comply with.

The order dated April 16, 2021, was issued by Principal Magistrate DM Kivuti.

”It is hereby ordered that pending the substantive hearing of the application dated March 29, 2021, the OCS Jogoo Road Police Station and the OCPD Buruburu are hereby directed to ensure and enforce compliance with the orders issued by this honourable court on April 07, 2021, and extended on April 15, 2021,” state the orders.

On April 15, a commercial court in Milimani through Principal Magistrate DO Mbeja had stopped the developer, believed to be a foreigner from evicting the more than 400 traders at the market.

Stalls belonging to the traders had been demolished during a night raid and the developer had allegedly brought cargo containers to the area ready to start developing after buying the land.

At the time of the demolition, the angry traders complained that they had not been given any notice to vacate the place which is slightly more than one acre.

The area MCA Ndung`u had at the time vowed that the traders will not move out of the market which was established in 1976, adding that the developer destroyed their stalls at night, rendering them jobless.

The market is famous for textile products, with school uniforms being the most popular. 

”Traders have operated at this open-air market for more than 30 years “and the alleged acquisition of the land by the private developer can’t be entertained and is the greatest form of corruption in modern Kenya and the foreign developer has not shown any court document allowing him to evict these traders,” said Ndun`gu.

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Yesterday, the MCA urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and save the market from being grabbed adding that it’s a source of income and livelihood for many people in Nairobi’s Eastland area.

He said many jobless youths had found a place to make a living and if they are chased away from the market some of them will start engaging in criminal activities like stealing and prostitution for women.

A trader at the market, Anne Atieno, said they lost property worth millions of shillings during the night when the demolition was carried out.

 The operation to remove us from here was carried out at night during curfew time and now we are going to fight to ensure the containers which were brought here to displace us are removed.,” she said.

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