Alarm as squatters invade Nairobi's Muthangari Drive

Business and homeowners in Muthangari area of Nairobi's Westlands have launched a spirited battle against squatters following a recent proliferation of kiosks and informal settlements in the estate.

The squatters, some who claim to have the backing of the Nairobi county government, have built informal structures on pavements and walkways along Muthangari Drive impeding movement and causing a new wave of crime in the area.

Residents claim the sudden proliferation of informal settlements may be yet another plot by powerful individuals in at City Hall to grab land in the area.

Meanwhile, the squatters claim to have paid senior county government officials Sh500,000 for every structure built in disregard of Nairobi's planning and construction by-laws.

International organizations and large businesses located in the area are now forced to endure heavy traffic congestion and insecurity that has resulted from the menace.

Yesterday, some business owners along Muthangari Drive, claimed the land cartels have warned them of dire consequences should they continue their campaigns against the squatters, and called on authorities to restore order.

What was once a well-maintained and organized upmarket neighborhood is now gradually transforming into a chaotic marketplace with a rising insecurity problem.

The illegal construction of kiosks has not only disrupted the smooth flow of traffic but is also increasingly becoming a threat to the safety of residents and business owners in the area.

Today, the road leading to a local bank and filling station has become nearly impassable due to congestion but city Hall is sending more squatters to the area.

Some of the structures have been erected on top of sewer and water lines, posing a threat to the integrity of the infrastructure.