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Tension as demolition of houses starts in Kisumu estate

By Kepher Otieno | February 9th 2021
Demolition in parts of Makasembo Estate (Photo: Collins Oduor)

The process of improving Kisumu's image through the urban renewal plan begun on Tuesday with the demolition of structures in parts of the lakeside city's estates.

Tension gripped the 100 years old Makasembo estate as the County government began to pull down more than 150 houses some of them condemned as unfit for living.

The city council askaris under the command of Samwel Orimba, engaged protestors in running battles as they tried to block the demolition exercise and groundbreaking ceremony.

Orimba had to call off the exercise after about five steel gates were demolished by the city bulldozers to pave way for governor Anyang Nyong'os urban renewal and affordable housing unit projects.

But one person was injured in the melee and another was stabbed in the back. John Onduu was injured and had to be rushed to the Hospital bleeding as he tried to resist attempts to pull down his house.

Onduu was, however, not alone. His brother Silas Onduu was also injured as well as Chris Olondo who was reportedly accused of standing on the way to the multi-billion project.

The affected residents were on Tuesday paid Sh12 million by LAPFUND Retirement Benefits Scheme to relocate as the city authorities embarked on building Modern Housing units.

LAPFUND is a Retirement Benefits Scheme for County government workers that started in the days of the defunct local county councils and municipal authorities.

County Askaris roughing up a protestor during the exercise (PHOTO: Colins Oduor)

According to LAPFUND CEO Mr David Koros, the exercise comes after a series of consultative meetings held with the affected tenants in the 100 years old estate. They were asked to vacate the premises.

''We are here to issue them with the money so that they leave. We expect to build the Houses within the next two and half years and then sell to them against cheap rates,'' he explained.

But on Tuesday, police had to be called to beef up security and to quell tension in the area when some of the affected tenants tried to resist the move saying that the notice to vacate was too short.

The incident happened as governor Anyang Nyong'o, and acting City Manager Abala Wanga, and National Housing Officials presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for new structures.

Nyong'o wants to give Kisumu city a new look and therefore is against seeing some of the buildings which were constructed more than 100 years ago exist in the lakeside millennium city.

''We want to rebuild Kisumu and mean well for all. People may cry today, but they won't cry tomorrow when we finish the projects,'' claimed Abala.

The Makasembo tenants have been given a 28-day notice which lapses by the end month.

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