Thousands of Kariobangi sewage slum estate in Kariobangi North have been left homeless following the demolition of their houses.
The demolition of the structures was carried out by the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company in a bid to reclaim the land where more than 5,000 families have been living since 2008.
This comes after the expiry of a notice to vacate the land said to have been grabbed from Dandora Estate Waste Sewerage Treatment Plant in Ruai.
However, a number of the affected residents said they were not given any written notice, claiming that the area administrator and police boss only gave them a verbal notice on Sunday to move out by the end of the day.
One of the affected residents, Titus Ndambuki, said that he saw bulldozers coming to their estate on Sunday before the demolitions began Monday morning.
The demolition, he said, begun without any eviction notice being issued to the residents by Nairobi water company. He claimed that they have been rightfully living on the contested parcel of land for close to 12 years now.
“We only received a communication on Friday from the DC that evictions will be happening and that we should start looking for alternative places to live in. There wasn’t any eviction notice,” said Mr Ndambuki.
He said that most tenants have allotment letters for the land and were awaiting the processing of title deeds.
“We have the letters and we have been paying rent for the past 12 years, so how can the government claim that we are here illegally?” he posed.
Another resident questioned the sudden rush to evict them on such a short notice yet they have been living on the contested land and they have allotment letters and receipts showing they have been paying rates to Nairobi County government since 2008.
Grace Atieno complained that they were only told to move out with no alternative place given to them and now they have nowhere to go to at a time when movement in and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area is still in effect.
“Where will I go and I do not have money to move to a new house? I do menial jobs which has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and even the little money I have now cannot sustain moving to another estate. I do not even have relatives in Nairobi to help me,” she said.
Kariobangi North MCA Julius Njoka condemned the demolitions, accusing the government of being inhumane to the residents at a time when the country is battling the coronavirus pandemic.
He said that the affected residents were allocated the land by the defunct Nairobi City Council in 2008.
“This is the wrong time to carry out eviction and demolitions leaving people who are already facing an economic crisis due to Covid-19 homeless. This is inhumane. Most of these people are elderly and others have young families and now they have nowhere to go to and will be forced to live in shanties in groups which might lead to a spike in Covid-19 cases,” said the MCA.