Thousands homeless in Kariobangi as State demolishes houses

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020 00:00 |
Residents of Kariobangi North salvage some of the property after their houses were demolished yesterday. Photo/PD/John Ochieng

George Kebaso @Morarak

Hundreds of families living in Kariobangi North, Nairobi were yesterday left homeless after the government moved in to repossess land which it says was reserved for the city’s sewerage system.

The residents woke up to a rude shock as bulldozers descended on the shanties and flattened them. They said they were not given a notice to vacate.

“We were assured that only the road next to our houses would be affected, but now these people have flattened everything,” said Peter Nyabuto.

Saying they had nowhere to go, Nyabuto added it was heartless to evict them during the coronavirus crisis.

“If we had been notified earlier, we wouldn’t be here,” he said.

The demolitions were reportedly done after the residents  were given 24 hours to vacate the land the government says was grabbed from Dandora Estate Waste Sewerage Treatment Plant in Ruai. 

Some of the residents said the area sub-county commissioner and the police only gave them a verbal notice at the weekend to vacate by the end of Sunday.

“They came and only told us to move out, now we have no money to rent new houses.

They could have at least given us a month to look for a new place,” one resident said.

Sewerage coverage

The repossession comes as the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation strains to handle sewerage needs and water supply to the 9.3 million residents of the Nairobi metropolitan area.

Only 50 per cent of Nairobi has sewerage coverage, a situation that has led to pollution of water sources, rivers and the environment, endangering the ecosystem and the people living in the environs.

But according to some residents who shared their frustrations with People Daily, they were allocated the parcel of land that had been sub-divided into small plots by Nairobi City Council in 2008.

Covid-19 crisis

“We have the allotment letters and receipts showing we have been paying rates to the county since 2008. We have nowhere to go.

It’s raining and due to Covid-19, many of the residents have no money because their jobs have been affected by the pandemic,” one resident said.

Last week, the government started evicting hundreds of people who had bought property next to the disputed 3,000-acre piece of land that was dramatically repossessed to pave way for the expansion of the Dandora Sewerage Treatment Plant in Ruai, Nairobi.  The land was linked to Deputy President William Ruto.

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