Former Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati (in red/black stripped t-shirt) is flanked by traders at Kanduyi trading centre on Wednesday. PHOTO COURTESY/ERIC KIBABA

There was drama at the Kanduyi trading centre when hundreds of traders joined former Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati in protesting the planned demolition of property around the stadium.

Flanked by angry residents, Mr. Wangamati called on the County Government of Bungoma to respect the rule of law and postpone the planned demolition of structures around Kanduyi Stadium.

Speaking to the charged traders, Wangamati acknowledged that the High Court has already issued two conservatory orders barring any agency from demolishing properties around Stadium.

“I fully support the construction of the Kanduyi Stadium because this is my brainchild, but we also want the leadership of this County Government to respect the court ruling until the case is heard and determined,” said the former County chief.

“Why should the County leadership go ahead to defy a court order if that’s not impunity?”

This development comes after a two different petition filed by Mr. Patrick Wangamati and Wangamati Estate Ltd, and nine others, seeking to stop the anticipated demolition in the wake of the stadium’s expansion plans ahead of hosting this year’s Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1.

Justice Enock Cherono, presiding over the matter, issued the conservatory orders, stating, “Conservative orders are hereby issued prohibiting and restraining Respondents from demolishing the Petitioner’s property.”

Traders who flanked Wangamati also supported his willingness to comply with the court outcome, should the court rule that their properties are indeed, illegally squatting on public land.

“I have no problem with the demolition of my father’s property; what these traders and I are asking is for the court to determine who is legally right. If the court throws us out, we will be the first ones to bring down these structures,” added Wangamati.

Wangamati stated that his family has legal documents showing that they applied for the lease rights in 1969 when he had not been born and they were issued with the lease certificate.

He also refuted allegations that he grabbed the piece of land while he was the Governor of Bungoma County.

“My father applied for the lease ownership of this parcel of land in 1969 when I had not even been born and got approved. I became the Governor in 2022. How then, can someone claim that I grabbed this land?”

A fleet of over 100 business structures are set to be demolished after the County Government issued them with a seven-day notice that elapses this week.

Even when Mr. Wangamati was addressing the protesters on Wednesday, others had already withdrawn their goods and items from the shops, vacating the place.

Some of the removed items from shops. PHOTO COURTESY/ERIC KIBABA

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