Nairobi’s Grogan Road Colonized by Jua Kali Mechanics

Mechanics have transforming the road into open-air garages

From as early as six in the morning, mechanics transform the roads into motor vehicle repair zone, minimizing the smooth flow of traffic on either way

By The Weekly Vision

An army of motor vehicle mechanics has taken over parts of the recently refurbished key roads in the city’s so-called ‘downtown’ area, transforming the road into several open-air garages.

The mechanics clad in greasy aprons and armed with a wide variety of spanners rule the booming repair market on these roads as vehicle owners flood the place for repairs from morning to evening.

The worst affected area is the Globe Cinema overpass on the western end, a one-kilometre stretch of road that joins Race Course Road on the eastern end; others are the neighbouring Musindi and Jadongo roads. A senior traffic police officer told The Weekly Vision that “open-air garage operators have made our work (controlling traffic) even more difficult”.

“We were forced to come to these roads after being forcefully evicted from the now Globe Roundabout Public Car Park which was being claimed by the Muslim Community who never gave us adequate notice, to move“, says the mechanics’ spokesman Joseph Oriede

From as early as six in the morning, mechanics transform these roads into motor vehicle repair zones, minimizing the smooth flow of traffic on either way.” The officer said ‘these roads can be equated to hospitals being flooded daily with patients seeking treatment for all manner of ailments. Besides repairs, they also carry out motor vehicle paint works, and engine and gear-box overhauls right next to the busy roads.

“We were forced to come to these roads after being forcefully evicted from the now Globe Roundabout Public Car Park which was being claimed by the Muslim Community who never gave us adequate notice, to move, says the mechanics’ spokesman Joseph Oriede. We just found the whole area surrounded by battalions of armed police officers. The battle between us and the police began soon after because we wanted to recover our tools and customers’ vehicles that were still parked at the site,” he said.

He said when the rehabilitation of the roads started; they were forced to operate in squeezed spaces on the periphery and sometimes in the space under the huge Globe Roundabout. They occupied the underpass which had then been completed after the construction of the Thika Superhighway.

A manager at the Globe Car Park Hassan Ali Omar said: “This place has always belonged to the Muslim Community, and then the leadership decided to repossess it from the ‘open-air mechanics’ turning the space into a fenced and secure public car park since it is close to the CBD.  They plan to transform it into a multi-billion shillings developments project in future.”

Mr Omar confirmed to us that most of the mechanics who were evicted from the site are the ones now gravitating towards Grogon, Musindi and Jadongo roads. They moved there before the road underwent repairs at a huge cost.

Today, these are no gone zone areas for the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) parking revenue collection officers, we dint pay because the “vehicles are in sick bays” waiting to be attended to.  

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