Thousands of people left in cold in Kibera demolition

By Samuel Ouma

School children pick their books from what used to be their classroom in a school that was demolished in Kibera slums. PHOTO | BRIAN OKINDA.(culled from Star Kenya)
School children pick their books from what used to be their classroom in a school that was demolished in Kibera slums. PHOTO | BRIAN OKINDA
(culled from Star Kenya)

A number of people living in Kibera slums, Nairobi, were left homeless following demolition by Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) to clear away for road construction.

In the operation that began yesterday, July 23, 2018, at least 30,000 people have been rendered homeless and property worth millions of shillings have been devastated including two primary schools, churches and children home centers.

The locals who have been living in the road reserve were given a 12-day eviction notice which expired on Sunday, July 16, 2018. The government aims at reducing heavy traffic jam in the city by constructing Ngong road-Kibera-Kungu Karumba-Lang’ata link road which will cost sh.2 billion ($2000000).

“This is, therefore, to give public notice that these structures must be removed before 16th July, 2018. Upon the expiry of this notice, any structures or property found on the specified corridor will be demolished or removed from the road reserve at the trespassers’ risk and cost,” read the statement from the National Buildings Inspectorate.

Many residents stayed put despite receiving the notice prompting the government to evict them forcefully as early as 5:00 am, a move that has been condemned by Amnesty International.

Amnesty International Executive Director Irungu Houghton has accused Kenya Urban Roads Authority for breaching an agreement they signed during Resettlement Action Plan meeting to enumerate the thousands of inhabitants residing in the affected areas.

“The demolition and forced evictions betray the agreement reached between Kura, the Kenya National Human Rights Commission and the National Land Commission to undertake a rapid resettlement action plan,” said Irungu Houghton.

He asked KURA to abide to the Internally Displaced Persons Act 2012 and guidelines on evictions. Mr. Houghton said the move violates Kenya’s national and international human rights obligations. He pleaded with the government to call of the ongoing demolition and complete the enumeration of the affected individuals.

In rejoinder, KURA has said that there would be no compensation for the residents as the land belongs to the government. Earlier in June a hundred of families were left in the cold following demolitions along the railway in Kibera.

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