The Kenya Railways Corporation has stood its ground, saying those who have encroached on its land in Karatina, Nyeri County, must move to pave the way for revival of the Nairobi- Nanyuki line.
In November 2018, a notice in the local dailies, signed by the corporation’s acting Managing Director, Mr Philip Mainga, asked all encroachers to leave voluntarily, the risk being demolition of their structures.
On Wednesday, a consultative meeting of KRC’s officials and traders’ representatives ended in a stalemate, with the corporation warning that those who do not leave will be forced out.
The fate of more than 2,000 traders, who have operated from the area for more than 30 years, now hangs in the balance.
Traders who spoke to the Nation said they were worried about lacking livelihoods.
They noted that they pay Nyeri for permits but that it appears to have no solution for the looming crisis.
“They are not showing us an alternative site to conduct our businesses. We don’t know what will happen. Our livelihoods are threatened so they should act quickly,” said trader Ann Nyaruai, a clothes seller.
Earlier, some traders attempted to invade an open ground opposite Mathira East Sub-County offices but were thwarted by former sub-county administrator Nelson Mbekenya.
Mr Mbekenya told them they risked arrest for trespassing because the piece of land was earmarked for a matatu terminus.
At a past meeting with the traders, Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga did not give a clear answer on whether his administration will relocate the traders.
The traders said they will go to the county headquarters on Thursday and seek the governor’s intervention.