Eviction victims meet Mutava committee

December 1, 2011 5:21 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1 – Tenants and building owners in areas affected by demolitions in Nairobi have reiterated claims that they did not receive any notices prior to the recent demolitions.

The joint committee of Parliament probing the demolitions spent Thursday hearing submissions from those affected in Eastleigh, Mitumba, Kitui village and Syokimau.

Many of the victims emotionally told the committee how they were displaced and their valuables destroyed. Landlords maintained that they held valid Title Deeds and authorised building plans.

“We have had valid plot ownership documents since the mid 90’s and have paid all our rates up to date. No notice of intended demolitions was served; the demolitions were executed in a military style of surprise attacks,” said Julius Mwangi, a property owner.

Tenants who lived in the Eastleigh houses also told the Mutava Musyimi led committee that the police did not give them ample time to vacate the houses

“They told us that they came in to protect the bulldozers that and not our property, they never even let us salvage much; even the little we had salvaged was stolen from us,” said Jim Nyamu who had lived in Mwangi’s rented house for seven years.

Both the landlords and tenants submitted that they suffered massive losses of property and demanded to be compensated by the government for the breeches in their constitutional rights

Mwangi added : “We know we have a right to own property and we and our tenants alike have the right to protection by our government, so we would appeal to this committee to ask the government to own up and compensate the citizens who were condemned unheard.”

The Eastleigh District Business Association through its chairman Hasan Guleid also presented its memorandum to the committee.

The traders argued that their commercial buildings that are also earmarked for demolitions have complied with all the legal requirements. Guleid told the committee that some of the buildings are much older than the Moi Airbase in Eastleigh

“The distance between the Airbase fence and the nearest building used to be 800 meters, despite the expansionist tendencies of the Kenya Air force the government has now marked commercial and residential complexes 1,000 meters form the Airbase fence for demolition,” said Guleid.

He further suggested that the government consider moving the base far from town claiming that it occupies more than half of Kamukunji constituency.

On their part, the Uungani Settlement Self Help Group whose land in Syokimau has been claimed by the Kenya Airports Authority has shifted blame to the lands ministry over the missing plot file.

Chairman David Wambua told the House committee probing demolitions that he got an allotment letter for the land which was formerly owned Douglas Watson.

Wambua maintained that part of the land was acquired by the Kenya Airports Authority and not all of it as earlier alleged by KAA

On Wednesday Lands Commissioner Zablon Mabea maintained that the Title Deeds being held by Uungani Settlement Self Help Group are not genuine as the land in contention belongs to the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) since 1971 with the title issued in 1996.

The House committee is set to receive final submissions from Lands Minister James Orengo on Friday before retreating to Naivasha over the weekend to compile a report.

The committee is expected to table its report in the Huse on Tuesday afternoon.

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