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Home & Away
They have been living at the Kangundo Road flats in Kilimani for 30 years, but the scheme plans to evict them and sell those houses.

Retirement is like a long vacation in Las Vegas, noted a British writer. But for scores of Kenyan pensioners, the musing falls dead flat. Retirement for them has been a torturous 17-year battle to retain the roofs over their heads.

A peek by Home & Away into the lives of pensioners who spent their best years working for the now-defunct Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Company (KPTC) reveals misery and squalor.

The bitter pensioners point fingers at the Telposta Pension Scheme, which was vested with over Sh10 billion worth of properties when KPTC was dissolved to cater for retirees.

Peter Gitau (inset), a Telkom Kenya pensioner who has been living at the Scheme’s Kangundo Road flats in Kileleshwa for 20 years is among the eight retirees living precariously.

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Others have been living there for over 30 years, but the pension scheme plans to evict them and sell the houses.

The Kangundo Road flats consist of two apartment blocks with 20 two-bedroomed houses. Their dilapidated nature is largely due to the longstanding tussle between pensioners and the scheme.

Gitau told Home & Away that when the offers to sell the houses were mooted, all the 20 occupants signed and agreed to the terms but eight of them, including him, were denied the chance. “We never understood the criteria that the scheme used to select the other 12 and they never even gave us a reason why we were denied the chance,” he said.

Gitau further accuses the scheme of using “mafia-like” tactics to push them out.

The eight pensioners had also argued that the houses were in derelict conditions and not worth the money the scheme was asking for. “It pains me to remember that I gave my best years to a company only for them to be the source of my pain in retirement,” said Gitau. Other members requested not to be quoted for fear of reprisals.

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However, Telposta Pension Scheme Chief Executive Peter Rotich challenged them to prove they were short-changed.

“We appreciate the fact that they worked for Telkom. That cannot be denied. How come their colleagues who honoured the terms of the sale agreements managed to purchase the properties?” posed Rotich to Home & Away.

The tiff between the pensioners and the scheme has dragged in court for over a decade - draining both parties. According to Rotich, the eight refused to abide by the terms of the initial sale agreement.

Rotich has previously accused some of the pensioners of having a “false entitlement” to the properties having lived there for many years.

The pensioners, however, accuse the scheme of “favouritism” claiming that there are some individuals who were allowed to clear their house purchases slowly with some finishing just last year.

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They also live in perpetual fear of auctioneers raiding their houses, noting that the pension scheme never revealed to them the monies recovered after their properties were auctioned and houses vandalised. Gitau was also arrested for “obstruction.”

The scheme, that has a portfolio of over Sh10 billion and pays Sh70 million monthly to pensioners, is also locked in fights with other pensioners that it wants out of its prime properties across Nairobi.

Last year, 13 pensioners at the scheme’s Elgeyo Marakwet estate in Kilimani were auctioned as the fund moved to recover rent arrears amounting to over Sh25 million.

The scheme is also planning a similar rent distress exercise on another property along Jogoo Road that has 127 housing units where it is owed over Sh125 million as well as evict pensioners at its South B flats.

[email protected] 

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