, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 22 – Landlords and tenants in Eastleigh Section III were on Tuesday morning left counting losses following the demolition of their houses.
Residents said they woke up to a rude shock when a fleet of bulldozers began demolishing the homes next to the Moi Air Base.
The houses most of which are three storied were brought down under the keen eye of a combined force of anti riot and regular police and military officers from the Kenya Air Force.
Landlords in the area have denied receiving any notice of the intended demolitions while they have valid title deeds and have been paying land rates.
Julius Mwangi, a landlord in the area told Capital News that it was only fair that he should have received a notice to forewarn his tenants.
He said that he had never been aware if his title deed for the plot on which he has constructed a house worth Sh50 million was questionable.
Mwangi said: “If anyone can prove that at any one given time I received a notice, then I owe my tenants… I have a proper title for this plot since 1995 and its rates are paid for fully up to the end of 2011.”
“I have only been called here by my tenants. I have been caught unawares and you cannot do anything in front of the bulldozer and the military,” he said expressing his frustrations.
Some residents told Capital News that they had not received eviction notices, neither from their landlords nor from the local authorities.
The exercise in Eastleigh left many homeless as most of the tenants caught unawares rushed to salvage their valuables.
Their desolation was worsened by heavy rains that were experienced early in the morning.
“We have never been given any notice; I just came back after taking my daughter to school and found bulldozers demolishing houses. We do not know where to go,” said one tenant who identified herself as Nyambura.
Residents further want the buildings earmarked for demolitions to be clearly marked to ease tension.
Looters did not spare the tenants either, capitalising on the confusion to steal from houses whose residents were nowhere in sight.
It is unclear what prompted the demolitions as police and the military cordoned off the area and failed to answer any of the questions directed at them.
Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan in whose constituency the buildings lie, condemned the early morning demolitions saying the government must devise better ways of dealing with its citizenry.
He said that the buildings targeted for demolitions have stood in the locations for long periods of time while the government has continued to receive revenue from the owners.
He said that the families that had rented the housed ought to have been given ample time to vacate particularly in this time when heavy rains are being experienced in the city.
“These buildings have been here for a long time, it is just a case of one government arm that has turned around to demolish houses for which it issued permits to construct and it has been collecting revenue from, I stand to condemn this inhumane and undignified way of dealing with populations,” he said.
“They came very early in the morning and when the area is flooded, I really do not understand the logic for this kind of action,” he further said.
On Saturday, several shanties were demolished in Mitumba slum near Wilson Airport as part of the operation to clear structures situated next to airports and vital installations.
The Eastleigh incident is the latest in a series of demolitions after Kyang’ombe slums, Syokimau and the Embakasi manyattas.