Monday, July 29, 2013

Violent evictions happening under police watch must be condemned

The forceful and inhuman eviction of Olkaria residents last week must be condemned. The manner in which hired goons with assorted weapons descended upon homes and properties of the residents under full police supervision was unlawful.

This is the place Maeilla residents have known as their home for decades, thus no eviction without an alternative or compensation is justified. For how long are Kenyans going to be subjected to such impromptu evictions without prior notice?

I thought under the Jubilee Government such actions were a thing of the past but it seems we are yet to see more wanton destruction of property and evictions which nobody claims responsibility for, even as fingers point to the government.

The Kajiado County government should have been consulted before women and children were thrown in the cold. Land is an emotive issue which must be handled with a lot of caution irrespective of any government project.

Attempts by Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir to distance the government from the evictions is not convincing as the planned expansion of Olkaria project is under his docket.

One of the pre-election pledges by the Jubilee Government was to conduct every action transparently and with the best interest of ordinary citizens at heart.

Any form of apology after last week’s actions is a mockery of the highest order because police were fully aware of the impending evictions at Olkaria.

Court orders must not be abused to mean violent evictions for the poor who also deserve justice by the same courts. Such evictions must not be effected by government officials from the comfort of their offices.

Kenyans are yet to come to terms with the selective demolitions in Lang’ata where buildings of powerful individuals in government were spared. Such arbitrary and violent eviction is what was condemned in the yet-to-be implemented Truth, Justice and Reconciliation (TJRC) report. It is ironical that the government has been unable to address past injustices yet it is adding more to the list of internally displaced people.

It is unlawful and inhumane to see children and women rendered homeless in the presence of police who are supposed to protect them. Any government project should be rolled out with the welfare of residents in mind and not its exclusive benefits. All Kenyans must be treated equally irrespective of their economic background.

FRED MAKANA Nairobi

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