PM orders halt to slum demolitions

PM Raila Odinga orders stop to demolitions/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has ordered a stop to all evictions and demolitions following an incident where a seven year old child was trampled to death and a woman electrocuted at a Nairobi slum over the weekend.

The premier said in a statement that the brutality with which evictions were carried out was a cause of concern and ran contrary to the Bill of Rights which guaranteed Kenyans the right to housing.

“This brutality is inhuman, unbearable, sends the wrong signals to the citizens who had hoped for a change for the better with the coming of the new Constitution and therefore unacceptable. That new Constitution guarantees the right to housing,” the statement said.

The woman and the child died and scores of other residents injured when police moved in to evict residents of Mukuru Kwa Njenga from a piece of land said to belong to a steel manufacturing company. Residents claim that they were not given notices to vacate the property.

Among the demonstrators was Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu who urged the residents to hold their grounds insisting the evictions were unlawful.

In his statement, Odinga said: “The citizens being evicted with so much brutal force are largely victims of an era when the government failed in the discharge of its duties.”

The PM emphasised that the order will remain in effect until measures are put in place to ensure residents are not evicted only to be rendered homeless.

“It is not a government policy to treat citizens the way the evictions have been done so far. The government wants a human face in any activity involving its officers and the citizens,” he said.

The Prime Minister further pointed out that in places where evictions have to take place, it should be in a phased and systematic way to avoid a situation where families including children spend days in the cold.

“Steps need to be taken to ensure that those being removed have alternative place to stay first,” he said.

More than 100 families were left homeless following the demolition of the houses in a section of the sprawling Mukuru Kwa Njenga slum in Embakasi and have now moved their belongings to the playground of a nearby school.

The co-ordinator of Mukuru CBO Alliance, Christopher Otieno has appealed for assistance for the evicted families who are now camping at the Mukuru Kwa Njenga Primary School Grounds.

  • Pratt

    This is classical nonsense! Who has been terrorizing Kenyans? Who heads the ministries concerned, not Raila’s men? Kindly stop the fooling!!!!

    • Omonto

      The demolitions were done by the Ministry of Internal Security. Syokimau ones were done by Ministry of Transport (through KAA), Mombasa ones by provincial administration! You need to refresh your mind.

      • Pratt

        Check your facts pal! Public works and lands! Thats why Orengo was to tell us that the “tittles were fake.”  And thats after the bulldozers reached a few meters from Raila’s plot! However, illogical decisions taken by ameteurs are quickly and conveniently forgotten. Kenyans are really treated like little children!!!!

  • Pmusili

    It is hard to balance trying to please people and government policy!, I think PM should tell Kenyans wether those affected since last year will be compensated or it just PS exercise. Also I think Kenyans should learn on how to respect private property. You can’t just take someones hardly earned property and expect them to lie low like an envelope.

  • dominic

    Oh dear PM, and what happened during the Mau evictions? was it any different

    • tame

      thats where most voters are!!!

  • Kibocha

    Kweli huyu PM ni comedian. Leo asema hivi kesho yuabadilika.Problem is he acts to the gallery, looking whom to please. Donors today, slum dwellers tomorrow, investors kesho kutwa. And he wants to be president? He has miserably failed the probation test as Prime Minister.

    • Pratt

      When you are intent on perfecting deceit, you act that way pal. The idea is to fool people that he is a good leader when his only known acts are deceitful propaganda and malicious sabotage. He has claimed over the years that he is a reformer, but can you tell us any single thing that he ever reformed? With even the so called 1/2 loaf, whats there to show for it and 5 years are ending? Kenyans are really presented with extremely tough choices if this is the kind of leaders we have to rely on. People who only pursue their narrow interests at the expense of the country. Its just too sickening!!! 

  • Jackson

    he should tell it to the fish. now that squatters in his family plot were thrown out he can dare call for a halt in demolitions so that other land owners do not benefit, talk of preaching water when drinking wine…

  • Edmus

    Populist. You can fool people sometimes but you cannot fool them all the time. See you at the ballot next year.

  • Wakiliwashamba

    If the land is private land owned by a Steel company, the government has no business telling the Steel company that they cannot reposess land occupied by trespassers!  It is not a private landowner’s responsibility to provide shelter to the wananchi!  This is retrogressive socialism.  If the government cares for these people then resettle them elsewhere.  But it is a bad message to give people the impression that they can just build their shanties on private land and then seek government protection from eviction from such private lands.  Land privately owned is exclusive.  As for human rights, the Constitution gives every citizen to pursue their own efforts of obtaining housing but this does not mean trespass!

  • Capitalist

    Agree with wakiliwashamba– my private land sio mali ya uma– and this village thinking where villagers leave the village, come to the city and expand slums on private lands has to end.  Kuleta uchafu mjini.  If you cannot afford to live in Nairobi go back to whereever you came from.  The Steel company paid good money for their land with no intent to share it with the homeless peasants of Kenya.  Huu umaskini msiwaletee.. they have plans to manufacture and do their business and these trespassers know they have zero rights on the land owned by Steel company. Haki za binadamu?  Kujenga vibanda kwa wenyewe?  Even in soccer that is called “offside”.

  • Jashoyangu

    Yes those doing evictions have to be better trained to be humane.  But we all know the people being evicted do not want to leave.  Therefore some force has to be used.  It is not practical for those evicting to have found alternative housing for evictees– where would that alternative housing be in a city where there is no affordable housing for a person living in a slum.  In other words if he could only afford to live in a slum, where else can he live other than another slum? 

  • Jitafutie

    Socialism.  Handouts.  Fine if the government wants to give the handouts.  But this is private land.  Can only imagine the policy that would come from this PM’s government.  Ujamaa?

  • femme

    OH PLEASE! Hate the way politicians always pretend to be ‘for the people’ especially when elections are beckoning!!!

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