The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has ordered Miraa and avocado traders to relocate their operations from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Mitchell Cotts Transit Shed by Monday, October 9.
In a letter drafted by chairman Caleb Kositany, KAA said that the move was agreed upon following a security meeting held with KAA officials, Head of Public Service Felix Koskei and stakeholders in the miraa and avocado sectors.
According to Kositany, a former Soy MP and President William Ruto’s ally, Mitchell Cotts Transit Shed will handle sorting, packaging and other freight processing activities needed to be ready for flight.
Mitchell Cotts, a company linked to KANU chairman Gideon Moi, is located three kilometres away from JKIA.
The entrance of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in August 2019.
“The ready-for-carriage shipments will be redirected to Mitchell Cotts Transit Shed for screening and onward movement to the respective flights as per bookings and destinations, with all necessary health and security protocols observed,” the statement read in part.
“No miraa pickups will be allowed to access JKIA premises as discussed in the security meeting. The above directive will be effective from October 9, and all exporters are mandated to comply.”
However, Nyambere Miraa Traders Association Kimathi Sakijo lamented that they were shortchanged by the KAA officials, citing that the contents of the letter did not represent the actual agreements of the meeting.
He added that the decision would disrupt activities as they would take time to adapt to the new area of operation and would not be ready in time for the rainy season.
“There is no reason given in the letter. We agreed to have a mutual understanding that benefits all of us and later we received the letter communicating differently,” he said.
“We feel that there should be some consultation and we should walk the journey together. We want to be very categorical. We have no problem as long as it a mutual benefit for all of us. SAs it is, we’re heading into the rainy season and we don’t want disruption of our operations during this season.”
Sakijo sought Kositany and Koskei’s intervention in addressing what he considers an ill motive to push them out of the airport.
“The move will have a negative impact on our business,” he pointed out.
KAA was unavailable to comment on the letter and the said order by the time of publishing this article.
A plane preparing to take off at a runway in a photo captured in November 2014.