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Evacuated traders protested on the eve of JKIA fire

07 August 2013, 11:35 Samuel Kisika

The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) Diplomatic Duty-free traders staged a demo at the Parliament buildings on the eve of the Wednesday morning fire, following the July 31, 2013 midnight evacuation from the airport.

John Wafula, the leader of Diplomatic Duty-free traders at the airport condemned the midnight 'hooliganism and barbaric' demolition and evacuation saying that it has left over 600 families jobless.

'Barbaric' demolition rendered over 600 traders jobless

"The recent midnight evacuation of diplomatic duty-free traders at the JKIA was conducted in a disorderly manner rendering over 600 traders jobless yet the have children who depend on them," said Wafula.

workers strike, salary, retrenchment, demo

"It is unfortunate that when we make one step forward to prosper, the government takes us two steps behind. Where does it want its citizens to make a living from?" posed Wafula.

Wafula questioned why the government is only targeting diplomatic duty-free shops around the airports including Mombasa and Wilson airports for expansion leaving their competitor shops.

He also said that the unlawful demolition and evacuation done at the international airport portrayed a bad picture to foreign investors who now fear for their safety.

"If foreign investors saw what happened at such an international airport on the midnight of July 31, will they encourage their friends to invest in Kenya? This shows the nation is not a safe place for investment," said Wafula.

He further noted that majority of the traders were far from the retirement age, saying that their loss would hamper their living and economic growth of the country.

He called on President Kenyatta to intervene and restore their livelihoods.

Mike Mbuvi Sonko, the Nairobi County Senator, assured the protesters that the evacuation issue is going to be discussed in Parliament and a lasting solution found for the sake of the traders.

Click to view photos of the protests

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