Property owners anxiety as KeNHA reclaims road reserves

Structures demolished at Kiganjo along the Nyeri - Nanyuki highway in October. [Allan Mungai, Standard]
Property owners and traders are on edge as a State agency moves to reclaim road reserves.

Traders in Kenol, Sagana, Karatina, Chaka, Narumoru and Nanyuki towns are anxious over the impending demolition of property illegally constructed on road reserves.

For the past one month, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has been knocking down billboards, signage and temporary structures erected on road reserves.

Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta urged KeNHA to be considerate and engage those affected to save them from losses. 

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KeNHA has erected beacons along the highway, clearly marking the road reserves.

The most affected is Naru Moru town in Nyeri County where an entire row of buildings has been condemned.

Some of the buildings found to have encroached on the road include those of financial institutions and petrol stations.

Other towns where buildings are likely to be demolished are Nanyuki, Karatina and Chaka.

Chaka has witnessed drama since last Sunday when market stalls were destroyed.

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Locals protest

Last Tuesday, traders barricaded the highway for hours to protest what they termed as high-handedness by KeNHA.

“They told us to move away from the road. We did but they still came and demolished our structures and destroyed our businesses. Now they want us to move away completely. Where are we supposed to go?” an angry trader posed.

The demolitions in Chaka have given traders in Narumoru township sleepless nights, wary that their investments could also be brought down.

At Toll near Nanyuki town, erection of beacons created panic among the residents after a private school and an upcoming hotel had huge chunks of their land marked as being on the road reserve.

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KeNHA has visited Narumoru thrice, the first time to place the beacons and the other times to talk to residents.

In one of the visits, some of the affected local residents dismissed KeNHA's meeting.

“You cannot call a meeting and tell people that their property is on a road reserve and they should take it down. As a landlord, I want a written notice, that way I can take steps," said Samuel Githinji. 

KeNHA spokesman Charles Njogu said buildings on road reserves "must be removed as part of our road corridor management plan.”

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KeNHADemolitionsRoad Reserves