The government demolished houses in Kariobangi that it claims were illegally built on wastewater treatment sites. But Kenyans questioned the timing of the demolition especially during the Covid-19 lockdown and the mandatory curfew.
Yesterday, bulldozers and caterpillars swarmed into Kiambea area in Kariobangi and demolished the houses leaving more than 7,000 people homeless. Ironically, the same government wants these people to shelter inside at 7pm daily to observe the mandatory curfew meant to stop the spread of Coronavirus. Also, with the lockdown in Nairobi, these people are prohibited from leaving the city for upcountry travel. Why didn’t the government wait until the end of coronavirus for them to start the demolition?
The Nairobi City Water and Sewage Company, which is responsible for the demolition, said the land on which these houses were built on was grabbed from Dandora Estate Waste Sewage Treatment Plant in Ruai. The company also said that the residents were given ample notice to vacate this area long time ago and hence upon the expiry of the notice, the rightful owners of the land had a legal right to demolish the structures. But while speaking to dailypost.co.ke, Titus Ndambuki who has lived in this area for more than 12 years said no notice was ever given for them to evacuate the area. “We only received communication on Friday from the DC that the demolitions will be carried out and that we should start looking for alternative accommodations. There wasn’t any eviction notice given”, said Ndambuki.
Kenyans on Twitter have reacted angrily against the government’s inhumane treatment of the Kariobangi residents. Among then includes the Human Rights Activist Boniface Mwangi.
“The houses in Kariobangi were nicknamed “Sewerage” because they were built on land belonging to Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company. The land was sold to unsuspecting buyers by the local administration and brokers, none of whom has been arrested”, Mr. Mwangi said.
Previous Government Demolitions.
The government has a history of demolishing houses it claims are illegally built on it’s land. However, a few affected citizens have challenged the government’s heavy handedness as they have gone to court seeking compensation. This is true of Mike Maina Kamau who owned Marble Arch Hotel
According to the NairobiWire, Mr. Kamau took the government to court for destroying his 8-bedroom mansion in Nairobi’s Spring Valley to pave way for the construction of the Redhill Road. On April 16, 2020, he won the case and the government was ordered to pay Mr. Kamau 859 Million shillings. Other notable estates that have faced the wrath of the government bulldozers includes the Syokimau demolitions in 2013 and Kibera in 2018.