Tenants protest eviction letters, decry county ‘bullying’
Jeevaquarters Welfare Group has asked the Nairobi City County Government to stop forced eviction of the urban poor, saying affordable housing should not disenfranchise low-income earners.
The group Friday protested over eviction letters issued by the county government dated November 14, to all tenants of Jevanjee/Old Bachelors Quarters Estate and demanded its immediate withdrawal.
They also dismissed Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko's claims that he compensated all current tenants of Jevanjee/Old Bachelors Quarters Estate and allegedly issued them with Sh600,000 cheques.
The tenants termed the claims false saying only two tenants have received the cheques while the rest of the 78 households have rejected the monies.
They said compensation that will be given to sitting tenants to move during the period of re-development must be included in a written agreement.
The tenants further claimed that there is no written agreement and the County Government has offered cheques for Sh600,000 but the tenants are demanding to know how the amount was arrived at.
“Is it taxpayers' money and if so, shouldn’t the county be accountable to the public through proper written agreements and consultations to justify the said monies? The current rent prices of a three-bedroomed house in Ngara is Sh50,000 and the compensation must match this amount otherwise the tenants will not afford housing in the same neighbourhood,” said the tenants .
The group also demanded that the County Government act in good faith and provide all sitting tenants an agreement duly executed indicating the terms of exit and re-entry back to the estate after completion of the re-development.
They also want Nairobi county to make public the contracts signed with the private developers before gifting them public land without proper public participation frameworks.
“The sitting tenants must first agree with the Nairobi City County Government on the prices of the re-developed houses to secure their return. The sitting tenants demand for a tenant purchase agreement to enable us afford the re-developed houses, they must not be rendered homeless through the re-development process,” the group stated.
They claimed that relocation to pave way for re-development will disrupt their lives significantly given their livelihoods are within Ngara area, children go to schools within that same neighbourhood among other activities hence relocation must factor in these pertinent issues.
Their concern is also the fact that the land in question sits on public land but the estate is now being done through a joint venture partnership with a private developer.
“How was public land transferred to a private developer without meaningful public participation? There has been no involvement of the National Land Commission (NLC) during this process and the process is unconstitutional. Public land must be defended at all costs and must not be transferred to private developers in any circumstance,” they added.
They have since demanded that Nairobi County adhere to its own Urban Housing Renewal and Regeneration policy that indicates there will be no displacement for sitting tenants and the county will provide decanting sites to house sitting tenants for purposes of relocation.
“ The County must follow its own policy documents and ensure also that the contracts for the private developers conform to the Urban Housing Renewal and Regeneration Policy given the said contracts were signed in 2016 before the policy came into effect,” they demanded.