The High Court has issued orders stopping the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) from interfering with the building of Mihango-Kayole road link in Embakasi, Nairobi, by the county government.
In October, residents of Utawala woke up to find Mihango and Kayole roads closed by KDF who dug trenches across the road without giving them a notice. In turn, the residents barricaded the Eastern Bypass in protest against KDF's move.
The orders issued by Judge George Odunga have prohibited KDF from digging a trench across the Mihango road link rendering it impassable and inaccessible.
“”The court has ordered that KDF to stay away from the purported illegal, irrational and unprocedural continued digging of the trench across the Mihango Road Link and any further interference of the applicants in the construction of the tarmac along the road,” said the order.
In the case certified as urgent, the court has further ordered the KDF to stop deploying its officers along the road link to bar the county government from repairing it.
Affected more than a million residents
Addressing journalists at City Hall, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero said the closure had affected more than a million people as it serves as a link between Embakasi Central and Embakasi South.
Dr Kidero`s government is engaged in a land tussle with the Defence ministry, with the governor claiming the KDF grabbed the land where Embakasi Garrison sits.
He said the county government has sued KDF and the Interior Cabinet Secretary for blocking the maintenance of the Kayole-Mihango road.
Kidero said the county had already contracted a contractor to repair the road at a cost Sh230.23 million, which had stalled over the dispute.
The county government also claims the said road has been in existence for nearly 30 years, is the alternative route to the Eastern Bypass, and that the area residents uses it mainly to access social amenities.
“The residents have suffered a lot since the closure, with schoolchildren not able to access respective schools, residents cannot access health care, and [there is] increased insecurity as robbers have a hideout in the trench,” said Dr Kidero.
Dr Kidero directed his officers to start filling the trench immediately to ensure normalcy is restored.