Why Nyeri home owners have moved into hotels
4 months ago, 23 Maý 00:09
When Wanjau Githae completed his Sh15 million bungalow in Karatina, it was a dream come true as he had finally managed to establish a country home.
Resplendent in architecture, the red-roofed house was an instant object of awe for neighbouring residents, and when he moved in, everything went according to script.
The tranquility of Giakabii village on the outskirts of Karatina town complemented Mr Wanjau's intention of living far away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
But little did he know that the ambience he yearned for would be rudely interrupted, sending him back to the chaotic urban centres he was running away from.
Increased cases of armed robbery in Karatina and surrounding areas have since seen Wanjau and other families abandon their posh homes for rental apartments in town.
Wanjau's tribulations reflect the plight of scores of families that have moved out of their dream houses to look for shelter in more populated areas.
As a result, properties worth millions of shillings in Mathira constituency have been abandoned as the owners opt out of the comfort of their homes.
All of the houses are storeyed buildings; one is located a few kilometres from Karatina town on the way to Ragati. The first gate opens onto a 50-metre driveway that leads to the main gate into the home.
The house itself is a magnificent two-storey building painted green, with tiled roofing and a front-facing balcony.
Another is also located on the outskirts of Karatina, but on the road leading to Sagana State Lodge. It stands on a small compound beside a muddy stretch of road. It is the most noteworthy building in the area.
Carjackings, break-ins and robberies are reaching epidemic proportions and driving people out of homes they have built but now cannot live in.
Those who are not in rented flats have opted for hotel rooms. The brave ones who stay on are living in fear that they are the next victims of an audacious gang targeting businessmen in the county.
Wanjau has been living in a hotel since December 2017. During an interview with The Standard, he said he was wary of his safety in his house. When he built his house in 1994, it cost him Sh4 million. It is now valued at Sh15 million.
“I thought when I retired I would move back home and share my knowledge and skills with the people,” he said poignantly.
Pinned to Mr Wanjau’s jacket is a badge with the words: “Jesus is coming soon, are you ready?”
While Wanjau, a devout Christian, might be ready for the second coming of the Messiah, he is not so ready to move back to his home - at least not anytime soon.
He is among about 20 families that have been held at gunpoint in their own homes for hours as gun toting gangs carted away what they could and sometimes even prepared a meal.
Those targeted by the gangs are business owners, lecturers, doctors and even a former county government employee who ...
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