A court order allowing the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) to evict traders from the open-air Gikomba market in Gacucu area to allow for the expansion of the neighbouring Pumwani Majengo Health Centre has been issued.
The court order will see 174 traders ousted from the market, with an earlier request to halt the eviction thrown out.
According to the court, the halting the evictions will hinder the public good.
While granting the order, Justice Oguttu Mboya stated that giving the directive would prevent the realization of the right to universal health care.
In his ruling, Oguttu noted that despite the traders having a right to earn a living, they do not have any entitlement to the public land in question.
“Whereas I affirm their rights to earn a living and livelihood, it must however be noted that the petitioner’s rights to do so are not absolute. In this regard, it suffices to observe that the right to earn a living and carry on business is one which is subject to the Limitation under Article 25 of the Constitution,” Justice Oguttu stated.
He added that the government will be obliged to serve the traders with the necessary notices.
The traders had submitted to the court claiming they had erected base in the area to conduct businesses for over 40 years adding that the demolition of their stalls would dwindle their source of livelihood.
However, the NMS backed the contest saying the market sits on public property and the land should be used for purposes of improving the public resources as government is entitled to recover vacant possession for purposes of putting the same to the designated public use.
Stephen Mwangi, the Deputy Director in Charge of Lands at the NMS, in court documents, stated that the area in question covers and falls within the hospital explaining that the traders have encroached onto and occupied a substantial chunk of the contested property
He further stated that the area is necessary for purposes of the expansion of the medical facility to accommodate the increased demand for health care.