A group of 374 traders at Nairobi’s Tena community market has moved to court seeking Sh700 million in compensation over impending eviction from public land.
The traders, who have each rejected a Sh50,000 “disturbance allowance” from Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura), were ordered to serve the Nairobi county government and the roads body for a hearing on March 6 at the High Court.
KURA has earmarked their stalls, near Tena estate in Embakasi, for demolition to pave way for the Sh14 billion expansion of the Outer Ring Road. The roads body is seeking to compulsorily acquire a seven-metre wide swathe of land from all landowners along the road.
The traders at the community market argue that their investment in the structures must be factored into compensation plans.
“On July 17, 2007, the City Council of Nairobi, through its Social Services and Housing committee, approved the allocation of 320 stalls and a power room to the petitioners,” the petition lodged at the court reads. “The council further approved construction of additional stalls on the remaining space.”
The traders say they constructed permanent stalls, which cost each trader Sh1.5 million, as well as two power rooms each costing Sh510,000.
In addition to the investments, they say they have been remitting Sh150,000 yearly as license fees for the businesses.
“On January 7, 2014, Kura notified the traders that the (national) Government, in conjunction with the African Development Bank, was in the process of implementing the Outer Ring Road expansion project and later confirmed that the market area had been compulsorily acquired,” they say.
The petitioners say Kura purported that it would pay a disturbance allowance of Sh50,000 “despite our substantial investments and lawful occupation of the suit property”. They contend that the “disturbance allowance” proposed is not known in law, is unreasonable and inadequate.
They say Kura has further threated to demolish their stalls claiming that they erected their investments on a road reserve.
“The respondent (Kura) has not assessed the value of the petitioners’ investment and stocks in order to inform their action towards a lawful, just and reasonable compensation,” they say.
The 13-kilometre Outer Ring road stretches from the Ruaraka/Thika Road junction to Taj Mall in Embakasi.
The planned expansion project involves construction of two lanes in each direction, service roads, 10 footbridges, non-motorised transport facilities and six interchanges.