NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 10 – Women from city slums on Thursday held a demonstration at the Lands Ministry where they called for the immediate end to ongoing demolitions.
One of the organisers, Naomi Barasa, said that the demolitions are unfair as the dwellers are not given alternatives.
“Forced evictions result in loss of property leaving people without a means of livelihood.”
“People living in the informal settlements contribute to majority of the country’s labour in the industries yet they are the least taken care of.”
She explained the women and children are exposed to dangers when they are thrown out of their homes in the middle of the night.
Barasa adds that those evicted are living in deplorable situations which risk their lives as they are exposed to health hazards.
“Forced evictions cause unnecessary health hazards especially those infected with HIV as the smallest exposure to infections could prove fatal.”
“The risks of rape and sexual violence are increased with the lack of a secure home.”
“The use of excessive force during evictions goes against the United Nations (UN) basic principles to human rights,” she explained.
Barasa raised concerns over education within the slum saying; “A large number of students are forced to drop out of school when their families are displaced or their schools demolished.”
She asked the government to adopt a moratorium on mass evictions until a law to deal with them is put in place.
They further asked that Kenya being a part of the UN membership ought to uphold the guidelines on evictions that stipulate that all those evicted should be compensated for their losses.
Cabinet Secretary for Lands Housing and Urban Development Charity Ngilu addressed the women promising to have the law fast-tracked so as to solve the problems faced by the women promptly.
“I have noted the issues raised and I will hasten the legislation of the Eviction and Resettlement Bill at the Attorney General’s so that there can be a guideline to the evictions.”
“A notice and alternative settlement area will be provided for all those who are required to vacate the land they are living on.”
Ngilu also noted that the slum development housing units are almost done and soon the slum dwellers will move into the houses.
“The slum rehabilitation project is almost done and we will soon start moving slum settlers in. This is a means of providing decent and affordable living for all the citizens.” She added.
The government says that some people are living on road reserves and as they try to improve the country’s road network there is need to redeem the land.