Kenyan lawmakers and business owners contest Eastleigh raids, citing illegal powdered milk ban

A series of government-led raids targeting businesses in Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighbourhood has come under scrutiny, with local business owners and lawmakers challenging their legality. The operations, aimed at combating the trade of allegedly illegal goods such as powdered milk, have resulted in significant financial losses and raised concerns over the violation of national laws.

Local Member of Parliament Yusuf Hassan, alongside the Eastleigh Business Association, has voiced strong opposition to these raids, highlighting the lack of legal basis and the forceful manner in which they were conducted. “Officers, armed and in civilian clothes, forcibly entered shops without identifying themselves or presenting any legal warrants,” Hassan reported, emphasizing the operations’ disregard for legal protocols.

The controversy reached a crescendo yesterday when business owners, supported by Hassan, confronted the officers, leading to a violent clash. In response to these incidents, Hassan has announced plans to pursue legal action, aiming to protect the rights of the affected merchants and challenge the assertion that their trade activities are illegal.

Central to the dispute is the sale of powdered milk, a staple product in Eastleigh’s markets, which the authorities have singled out as contraband. However, Hassan asserts that no current legislation justifies such a ban, suggesting an undisclosed agenda against the product. “Our country is governed by the rule of law, and any prohibitions should have a legal basis,” he stated, calling for transparency and adherence to legal standards.

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