About 3,000 traders in Karatina are faced with uncertainty after the Kenya Railways Corporation (KR) issued a five-day notice to vacate its land on which they have been conducting their business.
The traders have been operating on the land reserved for KR for the past 30 years.
The notice, which was published in local dailies last week and signed by the Acting Managing Director Philip Mainga, comes after another one issued two months ago in which the corporation asked those who had encroached on the railway reserve along the Nairobi-Nanyuki line to move out voluntarily, failing which their structures will be demolished.
Following the latest notice, some of the traders who talked to the Nation expressed fears they might lose their livelihoods because the Nyeri County government, which collects levies from them, appears to have no solution to the looming crisis.
About a month ago, a section of the traders attempted to invade an open ground opposite the Mathira East Sub-County offices but their efforts were thwarted by the then Sub-County Administrator Nelson Mbekenya, who warned them that they risked being arrested for trespass because the piece of land is earmarked for a matatus terminus.
Earlier, Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga, who had visited the hawkers to listen to their concerns, equally appeared helpless and non-committal when they asked him about his government’s future plans to relocate them.
On Sunday, Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua, who visited the distraught traders, put on a brave face and asked them to stay put as he tries to intercede on their behalf.
But several county government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity painted a picture of helplessness on the looming crisis, saying almost all spaces in the town have already been taken.