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80 houses sitting on sewers to be demolished in Kisumu

By Kepher Otieno | Published Fri, December 8th 2017 at 00:00, Updated December 7th 2017 at 22:57 GMT +3
Some of the houses in Gudka estate earmarked for demotion as they sit on sewer lines and road reserves. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

At least 80 houses built on sewer lines and road reserves will be demolished by the Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company (Kiwasco).

Owners of the buildings in Gudka, Manyatta and Migosi estates were yesterday making frantic efforts to stop the planned demolitions, which is part of a crackdown on unplanned construction.

Investigations by Kiwasco revealed that the structures pose serious health risks to tenants, who have to put up with foul smell and filth when sewage flows into the estates due to blockages.

In some instances, raw sewage flows into living rooms when the lines burst.

Probe findings

The probe further revealed that some sewer lines passed through the kitchen or gated compounds of the houses.

In some cases manholes are located inside houses. Hundreds of tenants now face eviction.

The structures made it hard for Kiwasco engineers to access sewer lines for routine maintenance and repair.

Kiwasco Managing Director David Onyango told The Standard that engineers at times pass through the sitting rooms of some of the tenants to access sewer lines.

"This is a big challenge to our line engineers who from time to time have to seek permission from tenants to access their premises to inspect and repair blocked sewer lines," Mr Onyango explained.

Human skulls

Kiwasco engineer Moses Jura told The Standard that, in some cases, they had recovered human skulls and foetuses while trying to unblock the sewers.

Some landlords who are out to avoid incurring losses have put up the houses for sale. It is not clear if they will be compensated.

Some of the houses, especially in Gudka, have been priced at between Sh3 million and Sh3.5 million for a three bed-roomed house, complete with a perimeter wall and steel gates.

Onyango disclosed that if the buildings are to be spared and the sewer lines rerouted, then it would cost Kiwasco about Sh100 million.

But Onyango told the media that Governor Anyang' Nyong’o promised to hold a stakeholders' forum to discuss the way forward.

Florence Ogada whose more than 20 units have been earmarked for demolition broke into tears as she spoke to The Standard.

Inherited estate

Ms Ogada, 46, claimed that she inherited the estate in Kaego, from her late husband Joseph Ogada.

Another landlord, Jactkone Okeyo, said the Government is supposed to improve the socio-economic situation of people and not frustrate their efforts to invest in real estate.

Landlords say the county's Planning department approved their building plans.