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Rapid rise of Barnabas township in Nakuru

By Paul Kariuki | Updated Wed, March 22nd 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3

About ten kilometres from Nakuru town along the Nakuru-Nairobi highway is the fast growing Barnabas township.

It has gained currency as a residential address for those seeking solace away from the hustle and bustle of the town’s life.

Real estate prices here have shot up such that not many can afford the asking price of housing units or minuscule pieces of land being put up for sale.

Only a couple of years back, the township was a little known place. It was nothing more than a vast piece of land sandwiched between Pipeline Estate, close to the Lanet Kenya Pipeline Company oil depots, and the Nakuru-Nairobi highway.

The owner, a man going by the name of Barnabas, had the land subdivided and he started selling plots to investors and speculators alike. Within a short time, the place grew from a few trading buildings to its current status — and it is still expanding.

The growth is partially attributed to the KPC depots where the first few investors specialised in serving oil tanker drivers coming into the depot for a refill.

The township is a case study of rapid development without proper planning. It is a one-way narrow dusty street township. So narrow is the main street that it offers no room for two vehicles to pass each other and drivers have to give each other way.

The infrastructure is also wanting since there are no sewerage systems or services like piped water with the latter seeing private investors making a killing selling water to residents. Waste collection, another essential service, is privatised which is minting money for the investors.

The township is virtually 24-hour economy. By day, various businesses operate to meet the resident’s needs but once nightfall comes round, a more dubious kind of trade comes alive. Being a pit stop for truck drivers who park by the roadside, the ‘flesh’ business is thriving as skimpily clad comercial sex workers roam the place seeking clients.

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