Scores of tenants, most of them elderly and ailing, spent the night in the cold after City Hall forcibly evicted them from Pangani estate minutes to midnight.
The tenants, many of whom have lived in the estate since the 1960s, were woken up by the sound of breaking glass and roaring bulldozers in what City Hall says was a “necessary” eviction on Monday night.
The demolitions started at around 11.30pm and continued to the better day of Tuesday.
Pangani Estate is among other estates earmarked for development under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s affordable housing agenda.
But the tenants expressed anger with the timing of the demolitions, insisting the eviction notice had not expired.
“They came to evict us in the most inhumane way possible,” said Josephine Maringa, 76, who had lived in the estate since 1953.
The ailing tenant said she was woken up at 11.30pm by the sound of breaking windows adjacent to her house and quickly scrambled out.
She and her daughter ended up spending the night in the cold as the bulldozers took over.
The evicted tenants conceded that City Hall had issued an August 1 eviction notice, after an unwritten agreement that promised Sh600,000 each for the 48 houses in the estate.
They, however, claimed that a number of households had not been paid by the time the bulldozers moved in. Others said they were yet to understand details of the agreement.
Those that had been paid, like Maringa, said they were waiting to move out at the end of the month.
Mohammed Juma, who is in his 80s barely managed to get out of the house before the bulldozers roared in.
According to Juma’s sister, the night demolitions nearly turned tragic.
“My brother was sound asleep and would have died if I had not woken him up,” she said.
The tenant’s lawyer, Edward Ndichu, described the demolitions as illegal.
“It is illegal in that the residents rejected the (eviction) documents for lack of understanding and possibility of skewed instructions,” he said.
City Hall has, however, defended the night evictions saying that they were legal and necessary.
“This is purely development and the matter should not be politicised,” said the governor’s director of communication, Elikana Jacob.
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