Bulldozers bring down Visa Oshwal centre walls

A section of the Visa Oshwal Centre in Westlands, Nairobi after demolition yesterday. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]
Part of the Visa Oshwal Centre in Nairobi came tumbling down yesterday evening as the campaign to get rid of structures standing on riparian land went a notch higher.

A privately hired bulldozer arrived at the centre shortly after 5pm and was joined by excavators from the National Youth Service that have been busy the whole week demolishing property worth billions of shillings.

This was the fourth such major demolition in a span of a week and workers could be seen removing valuables from the main hall at the Visa Oshwal Centre hours before the bulldozers arrived.

The Oshwal Centre is a place where Oshwals — a group that follows the Jainism religion and traces its roots to India — meet for religious, cultural and social activities.

Part of the centre lies along the same riparian land with the Ukay Centre which was brought down on Friday and there were emerging concerns whether the government would demolish a religious centre.

Nairobi governor Mike Sonko insisted that the demolitions were being carried out in a firm but humane manner.

“We should not politicise the issues. Nobody should say we are jeopardising the economy,” he said.

He said that they will preserve the Temple at Visa Oshwal, monuments and cultural centre based on their distance from the river.

“However the rest of the structures like the hall that are within the riparian land must be removed,” he said.

The demolition is set to continue next week targeting buildings sitting on riparian land following an initiative by the Nairobi Regeneration Committee.

Yesterday, Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris called for caution, saying the demolitions should be carried out in a humane manner.

“Kenyans are losing property and livelihoods. Government has become amorphous as no one really knows who is demolishing the structures,” Passaris told Sunday Standard.

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Visa Oshwal CentreOshwal Centrenemanema demolitions