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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,18TH JULY 2018-Two groups have clashed over the management of public toilets in Nairobi’s central business district bringing the services to a halt.The standoff left residents who wanted to use the facilities that are evenly distributed within the city stranded for the better part of Wednesday morning.
Police officers were forced to come in and prevent the situation from getting worse.
The officers were deployed to block youths who had taken over the management of some toilets in the CBD. The groups prevented access by those who initially ran the facilities.
The deployment followed a court order obtained by the initial operators after the groups forcefully took over management in March.
Public toilets at OTC, Muthurwa, Machakos Country Bus Station and Bus Station were affected by the standoff.
“Goons took over these facilities illegally. That is why we went to court … police are here to remove them,” said Tom Makale, chairman of the Public Toilets Operators Association of Kenya.
There were reports that the county had taken over the toilets after pictures of police officers manning them emerged.
While addressing the press,Environment CEC Larry Wambua and county operations director Peter Mbaya refuted the reports and noted that police were enforcing a court order.
“We are not closely involved with what happened. This issue involves two groups – goons and official operators. I call them goons because they did not apply to run the toilets,” Mbaya said.
Two weeks ago, Governor Mike Sonko ordered the withdrawal of charges for use of the toilets and threatened to hire a firm to run them if the management wrangles are not addressed.
Wambua said the county is still in the process of procuring the firm.
There are a total of 65 public toilets in Nairobi’s CBD.