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Leaders oppose forceful eviction of families from riparian land

 A young girl looks at what remained of their house at Kwa Nduma village near Seefar Apartments, at the edge of Nairobi dam, May 5, 2024. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

A section of Ukambani leaders have appealed to President William Ruto to stop demolition of houses on riparian land in Nairobi.

They said the demolition of houses was causing untold suffering to poor families who have nowhere to go. 

Led by former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko, Machakos Deputy Governor Francis Mwangangi, Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua and his Makueni counterpart Dan Maanzo, the leaders faulted the government over demolition of structures in Gikomba market, Mathare and others informal settlements, saying the forceful evictions go against the Kenya Kwanza government promise to protect hustlers and vulnerable families.

“Even if I am in the same government, I can't support demolition of people's homes because it is against human rights and the Constitution. The government should speak with the owners, compensate them, and then they be allowed to move to other places,” said Sonko. 

Wambua said the Kenya Kwanza government was insensitive to the plight of suffering Kenyans.

“Responsible governments in times of crisis they secure land, take care of the people, feed their people, secure them and ensure they settle. This government we have is irresponsible,” he said. 

Mwangangi claimed that the government committed crimes against humanity when it ordered the demolition of multi-million shillings houses and property of residents in Mavoko, Machakos county.

The leaders also waded into the controversy over the construction of markets in Makueni County by the State Department of Housing and Urban Department under the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP). 

Makueni Governor Mutula Kilonzo Jnr clashed with MPs Joshua Kimilu (Kaiti), Mwengi Mutuse (Kibwezi West) and Kivasu Nzioka (Mbooni) over the location of the five markets. 

“These markets are causing a rift between leaders. Markets are under devolved units. Everything which is devolved should come to counties for implementation," said Maanzo. 

The leaders spoke at a burial ceremony in Mbooni where the Machakos governor and his Bungoma counterpart Kenneth Lusaka were in attendance. 

Dr Lusaka called on leaders to shun divisive politics for the sake of unity and prosperity of the country. 

“Let us not allow our leaders to be divided and also not allow ourselves back to where we were during the past regime where the current President (William Ruto) couldn’t speak with his boss,” he said in reference to the simmering tension between President Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua.

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