More than 5,000 people who were living in Nairobi’s Kariobangi sewage slum estate, Kariobangi North were left homeless after the government demolished their houses to reclaim the land.
The evictions were carried in spite of a court order barring the exercise, compounding the problems face by the residents most of whom have been struggling to survive especially in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The demolitions supervised by police were carried out by the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company with bulldozers arriving on the ground at 6am to flush out the families from where they had called home for over 10 years.
While the government maintains that the demolitions were done after expiration of an earlier notice to vacate the land, the residents say they were ordered to leave the area on Sunday by the local administrators.
“We only received a communication on Friday from the DC that evictions will be happening and that we should start looking for alternative places to live in. There wasn’t any eviction notice,” said one of the residents.
The exercise, however, elicited angry reactions from members of public who accused the government of being inhumane for leaving the residents homeless at a time of a crisis characterised by joblessness and with a curfew and a partial lock down that leaves the families confined with Nairobi.
The government claims the land was grabbed from Dandora Estate Waste Sewerage Treatment Plant in Ruai, but according to the residents they have been paying rent to live on the land for the past 12 years.
According to Kariobangi North MCA Julius Njoka, the affected residents were allocated the land by the defunct Nairobi City Council in 2008.
The MCA said the residents had even been issued with allotment letters for the land and were awaiting the processing of title deeds.