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5,000 pupils displaced as Kibera demolitions come to an end

By Josphat Thiong'o | Published Wed, July 25th 2018 at 00:00, Updated July 24th 2018 at 22:00 GMT +3
A tractor demolishing structures at Mashimoni in Kibera to pave way for road construction. [Wilberforce Okwiri/Standard]

Several schools were demolished, including one that has been in existence for 32 years.

Among the schools affected were Makina Self-Help Primary, Adventure Pride Centre, Mashimoni Primary, New Horizon Primary, Saviour Kings Academy, Elite Secondary, Makina Baptist and Mashimoni Squatters.

Mashimoni Squatters Primary School, which has been running for 32 years, was hosting 800 pupils. The school has now been left with only four classrooms after 10 were brought down.

"We have done everything possible to defend the school, including going to government offices,” said the school's founder, Timothy Mulehi.

He claimed that he had written to the National Land Commission and the Ministry of Lands and had been assured that the school would not be demolished.

“There is a map showing where the road should pass and my school should not be affected,” he said.

The four classes left standing were to host 57 pupils sitting their Class Eight examinations this year, while the rest of the pupils were sent home.

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For some pupils, it was a double tragedy because their homes were also demolished.

“The notice to vacate did not give us enough time to comply. My home, business and child’s school have all been brought down," said Aisha Ali, a mother of two,

Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris appealed to the Government to ensure that the pupils affected by the demolitions were allocated new schools.

“The Government must ensure that the pupils get new schools, even if it means setting up tents for them. They should be able to sit their exams, like any other child,” she said.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has given the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) a week to compensate the Kibera residents affected by the demolitions or face legal action.

“We are giving Kura seven days to compensate the victims to enable them to pick up their lives. We cannot continue sitting comfortably in our houses as people suffer,” said the party's secretary general, Edwin Sifuna.

Kura's communication officer, John Cheboi, said it was working on a compensation report with the details of the affected families and properties to be handed to Treasury.

The report includes the names, phone numbers and identification card numbers of the residents affected.


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