Business as usual at Mutindwa
Even before the shocker could sink in the minds of many Nairobians, some people were on Thursday erecting illegal structures on the railway reserve in Mutindwa, just hours after they were demolished.
In what could be described as brazen impunity, members of God’s Last Appeal Church began building a structure at the very spot the previous church stood. They were doing so alongside hundreds of traders.
According to a church elder, Mr James Ojwang’, the church had asked for permission from the Railways Corporation after the demolitions to rebuild on the reserve.
Workers hired by the church were busy digging holes to put up the structure, while others were straightening damaged iron sheets in the morning.
“It does not matter what happens to us. We hope to have completed reconstruction by Saturday morning as members of our congregation do not want us to move elsewhere since many come from around this place,” said Mr Ojwang’.
He added that they were not afraid of the dangers they were courting or another round of demolition.
“Churches are necessary. We are not in business as our mission is to help people,” said a member of the church, Paul Hagai.
Just a few metres from the church, some traders were putting up makeshift structures for their wares.
Others were seated where their businesses were located speaking in low tones. It appeared they were bidding their time. It was not the first time structures had been brought down and rebuilt. It has happened so many times over the years that traders have gotten used to it.
However, others like Mr Peter Okiya do not want to rebuild for fear that another demolition is in the offing. He was in the furniture business.
“I think RVR and the county government officials meant what they said this time,” he said.
He has decided relocate his business elsewhere.
The demolitions came in the wake of a bus-train accident at the Mutindwa level crossing on Wednesday October 30. Several eye witnesses claimed the driver of the bus was at fault for attempting to cross the railway despite the presence of an oncoming commuter train..
Police also insisted that the many structures along the railway line contributed to poor visibility as motorists rarely saw an approaching train.