Temporary reprieve as KURA halts Kibera demolitions

Approximately 30,000 people will be affected by the demolitions that target several schools, churches and homes. [File,Standard]
A state agency has temporarily halted the demolition of Kibera houses erected on the path of a Sh2 billion link road.

The Kenya Urban Roads Authority said the planned demolitions will begin on Monday which gives those affected more time to vacate.

Approximately 30,000 people will be affected by the demolitions that target several schools, churches and homes.

The Ngong Road-Kungu Karumba-Lang’ata link road is expected to ease traffic in the capital and has been in the pipeline since as far back as 2012. 

Kura Communication Officer, John Cheboi revealed that the ‘grace period’ was to allow for Kura to clearly mark the corridor since a few beacons had been vandalised.

“We want to conduct a small exercise which involves marking the corridor and the exercise is expected to have concluded by the end of the week,” stated Cheboi. 

Kura had maintained there would be no compensation for the residents as the land belongs to government.

The agency however softened saying it would dole out some financial assistance to help those evicted.

Cheboi observed that a majority of the structure owners were landlords living in Langata and they would only be assisting the families directly affected.

“You cannot compensate someone for land that they do not own because they do not have title deeds. We will however give out something ‘small’ to help the residents relocate. They will also be allowed to carry their structural materials,” added Cheboi.

A spot check by The Standard further revealed that some of the residents were fleeing their homes to avoid forceful eviction.

Some were moving back to their villages upcountry while others simply relocated to their new found houses.

Thomas Ogeto, a resident, said that he was now fed-up with the back and forth between the residents and the government and decided to look an alternative house elsewhere.

Having lived there for the past 5 years, he was however dismayed by the government’s announcement that it will not be compensating the locals.

“My life has been turned upside down and there is no need for me to continue staying here. I would rather go live elsewhere in peace and without any fear of being evicted at any time,” stated Ogeto.

According the National Lands commission, the land in question measures approximately 650 acres.

NLC vice chair, Abigael Mukolwe last week however said that some 288 acres of land had been allocated to the Nubian community in 2016.

The expected bypass will cut 60 metres wide in the slum for 2.5km from the DC’s office in the north to the Kibera South Health Centre and into Lang’ata then to Kungu Karumba road. It will also have a 2.5-metre wide cycle tracks on each side, 2.5 metre wide footpaths and piped drains on the outer side kerbs.

If it happens, it will be the biggest demolition exercise ever attempted on a Kenyan slum since the year 2012 when part of Soweto East in Kibera was demolished to give way to new houses under the slum upgrading project.

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