Forget it, State tells Embakasi slum dwellers

November 16, 2011 1:52 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 16 – The government on Wednesday said it would not compensate any settlers living in Kyang’ombe and Maasai villages of Embakasi constituency, following the demolitions of the slums over allegations that they had been built on land belonging to the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).

Transport Minister Amos Kimunya said that the government had no plans to resettle them or give them alternative pieces of land as they had fraudulently acquired the property.

The two villages were demolished last month and saw several shanties brought down, despite a pending court case.

“The government has no plan to offer alternative sites to the evictees because they had illegally occupied land belonging to KAA and the government cannot compensate people who grab private land as it would encourage the trend to continue,” he stressed.

Kimunya, who was responding to the emotive issue in Parliament, also claimed that the residents had been given several eviction notices since 2005 but ignored them.

However several MPs accused the government of ignoring the plight of its people by selectively applying the law.

Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara noted that the government was only picking on small scale ‘land grabbers’ while leaving out those who had grabbed huge chunks of land and in some cases even compensating them.

“This government is selectively applying the law against the very poor people of Kenya; harassing its own citizens as if they have no rights under the Constitution. No wonder Kenyans want an August election. Is it in order for the minister to stand in Parliament and justify criminal conduct?” he asked.

Kimunya however defended the demolitions saying the government had a responsibility of protecting both public and private land.

Martha Karua (Gichugu) and Danson Mungatana (Garsen) sought to know why one part of the government had approved the constructions only for the other to disown them.

The two wanted to know where authorities who were supposed to be protecting the said private land had been when the homes were being brought up.

“Why did government wait until the residents had put up the houses only to come and demolish them? Where had the government been?” asked Karua.

She also claimed that the land on which the two villages sat was now being occupied by foreigners adding that there were no prior warnings.

Kimunya also urged the House to reject submissions that had been made by Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu saying they were baseless.

Waititu had claimed that only 10 percent of the land belonged to KAA and that the government had demolished homes that were not on the authority’s land.

He further claimed that most landlords with parcels of land in slum areas were only out to exploit poor Kenyans.

Boni Khalwale (Ikolomani) and John Mbadi (Gwassi) challenged Kimunya to table all documents proving his allegations to the House.

The matter will now be investigated by the lands committee together with the parliamentary committee on Administration and National Security and a report submitted in three weeks.

Meanwhile the government has cleared Kilome MP Harun Mwau and Juja’s William Kabogo of all drug trafficking charges saying it has no evidence linking the two to the illicit trade.

“They are not involved in any narcotics drugs trade. We don’t have any evidence. We have also established that Kabogo is not Mwau’s son-in-law and has never been his driver,” said Ojode.

Mwau also demanded that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs writes to the United States and United Kingdom to clear his name from accusations of drug trafficking.

Although Ojode attempted to assure Kenyans of the government’s commitment in fighting narcotics trade, the MPs accused the government of paying lip service to the issue.

Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim directed that the matter be revisited again next Wednesday.


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