Police officers were deployed along Geoffrey Kamau Way in Nakuru where the exercise kicked off on Sunday, October 11, at 4 a.m. The demolitions targeted restaurants, hotels, night clubs and car bazaars among other businesses.
The demolitions come ahead of a planned rehabilitation of the Nairobi-Nakuru-Kisumu railway line by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF).
The exercise is reportedly also meant to pave way for the construction of Ksh160 billion Limuru-Nakuru road into a four lane dual-carriageway.
A video seen by Kenyans.co.ke shows residents combing through the rubble in an attempt to rescue their possessions.
Kenya Railways explained that the tenants had been issued sufficient 90-day notices to move their businesses from the land.
“The land is now needed for the purposes of rehabilitation of the railway and we have begun reclaiming it.,”Estate Manager Patrick Nzomo stated.
The rehabilitation of the old railway line comes after 25 years of neglect, and is expected to cost Ksh3.7 billion.
It is expected to be completed in March 2021.
The land had reportedly been leased out for a period between 15 and 30 years, but which had since elapsed, prompting the move my Kenya Railways.
Many businesses had just set up, pumping millions into ventures yet their leases had elapsed.
A hotel located along the road, which was also demolished, was gearing for launch in under a month’s time.
On Saturday, October 10, a number of tenants in the area had transferred their belongings from the businesses center stretching 400 meters after decrying of late notices to vacate.
“They marked the buildings set for demolition at around 2:30pm. One of them told us we had a maximum of five hours to remove our property from the premises.
“He said we would regret if we failed to move in time,” noted one trader.