Tens of traders clashed with police in Nairobi’s Muthurwa Market after a dawn demolition of their kioks in the area.
The hawkers arrived on Friday morning to find their kiosks flattened by council Askaris who had staged the exercise past midnight on Thursday.
In anger, the traders blocked a section of Nairobi’s Landhies Road and stoned motorists before police arrived and dispersed them. This also affected businesses in and around the market.
Traffic flow on some roads was affected in the melee that ensued.
The team of anti-riot officers used several teargas canisters and live bullets to disperse the hawkers who claimed they had been left with no place to operate.
Council officials said the demolition was conducted to enable easy operations there. An official, Robert Keriago said several illegal structures had been erected within the market hence blocking operations.
“They do not seek the approval of the council before constructing the structures. They are all illegal,” he said on the phone.
Central deputy OCPD Tom Atuti said none had been injured in the operation adding they would not allow the hawkers to disrupt business there.
The demolition came as the Cabinet cleared the way for the demolition of old council houses to pave the way for the construction of low-cost modern units.
The Cabinet approved the ‘re-development’ of the old local authority estates in a move expected to provide more affordable housing units for sale and rental in various cities and towns.
It further approved the development of multi-storey parking facilities, a move expected to ease parking pressure and congestion in urban areas.
They also resolved to improve the manner in which solid waste is managed in the country as this will create opportunities for employment and energy generation.
In Nairobi, at least 25 estates have been earmarked for demolition.
Estates likely to be affected include Muthurwa, Shauri Moyo, Bahati, Mbotela, Ziwani, Makongeni and Jericho.