By Cyrus Kioko
Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK) has launched a 14-day campaign against Hilton and Sarova Stanley hotels for blocking public sidewalks for private use.
The federation, which is seeking 10,000 signatures from the public, has threatened to move to court after 14 days if the two hotels would not have complied with their plea to open them.
— COFEK, KENYA (@ConsumersKenya) October 12, 2015
In their petition which they have published online, they have expresses how the private firms are earning billions against untold disdain for the poor pedestrians.
“The chains, barriers and blockages endanger the lives of ordinary Kenyans as they walk near the said hotels. Unlike Fairmont Norfolk, which readily complied, Nairobi Hilton, The Sarova Stanley, IPS Building and Trattoria Restaurant are keen for a fight. And we are ready, too,” States part of the petition.
COFEK Secretary General Stephen Mutoro alleged that Hilton hotel falsely acquired a permit from City Hall to close Utalii lane for its exclusive use contrary to the Constitution. Mutoro said it is Kenya Highways Authority that is mandated with management of roads and no institution is allowed to allocate roads for private use hence accused the hotel for using wrong authority to disadvantage the people. He further urged the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate and establish how the permit was issued.
“Hilton hotel has closed the approximately 15 meter road connecting Mama Ngina street and City Hall way for its parking while Stanley hotel has mounted bollards to keep away pedestrians from walking closer to the hotel’s entry,” he said.
Residents have shown support to the move through the comments they have made on the petition and also through twitter via #BoycottHilton #BoycottStanley
On Friday October 16, he led officials in the two hotels and compelled them to open walkways they have barricaded to lock out pedestrians and vehicles.
Kenyans reacted differently to the call by Cofek
— Heeral Vora (@VoraHeeral) October 12, 2015
Cant talk of this #BoycottHilton thing coz the closest i have been is archives , ata hyo idlers corner yao sijawaipata space
— Ezra (@ezra_kips) October 15, 2015
Reacting on the allegations, Nairobi City County Business Association chairman David Gachuru said the hotels closed the sidewalks to “protect the tourism industry”.
“The culture of this country especially Nairobi is that wherever a public service vehicle driver sees an open space he can turn it to a bust stop. Permits were issued from authorities to protect the hotels,”, said Gachuru,