|President Uhur Kenyatta PHOTO:COURTESY|
By CYRUS OMBATI
A planned visit and ceremony to issue title deeds to Nubians by President Kenyatta in Kibera slum Sunday morning has been canceled over security reasons.
President Kenyatta’s advisors told him not to attend the event organised by Lands Secretary Charity Ngilu at a venue adjacent to the District Commissioner’s office.
This is because locals had protested and leaders had opposed it.
On Tuesday, a group of residents who claimed they had been left out staged violent protests in the Kibera slums barricading roads there.
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Kibra MP Kenneth Okoth led the protests saying that key stakeholders were not consulted about the function.
“Kibera is a sensitive place that can easily explode into deadly violence if proper consultation is not done for a comprehensive plan on land and housing for all residents of the slum,” he said in a statement.
He added the process behind this supposed allocation of titles to the Nubians and other groups and individuals has been shrouded in mystery, and a lot of important questions remain unanswered.
“It is not clear what plan the government has for resettlement or compensation of non-Nubian structure owners, tenants, and about 100 other individuals and organizations who over the years obtained genuine title deeds within the area.”
On Sunday, the President’s advisors, officials from the ministry of lands and police said the event had been canceled indefinitely.
“There is no need for us to go there and later turn the guns into the locals. We are informed the event has been canceled,” said a senior police officer aware of the plans but who asked not to be named.
Security had been tight since last week when the locals staged the protest in Olympics area.
Nairobi head of police Benson Kibue said they had no plans to visit Kibera.
“I am not aware that the President is visiting the area,” he said.
Ngilu visited parts of the constituency Tuesday, triggering demonstrations by residents opposed to the government plan.
Kibera is considered an ODM stronghold and was represented in the last Parliament by former PM Raila Odinga
The Lands ministry hived off several 288 acres out of the 700-acre Kibera slums in Makina, Lindi, Mashimoni and Silanga areas to give the Nubians, which has been opposed.
Officials from the National Lands Commission had also opposed the plans.
As part of efforts to oppose the event, top officials from NLC said they would not attend the event.
“The chairman and other officials are out of the country. I can tell you they are not in support of the Kibera event because it is political,” said an official who asked not to be named.
The event was two months ago again canceled over security reasons.
The plans were a culmination of a long plan that had caused row between Ngilu and the commission over her controversial decision to allocate close to 300 acres of public land to a private organization.
The commission said it did not approve the allocation of 117 hectares of land, which is equivalent to almost 300 acres to a group calling itself Trustees of Kibera Nubian Community and set to last 99 years.
Ngilu allocated the 300 acres in a move that promises to reignite fighting in the area.
This could also ignite violence among residents of the biggest slum in the region if the new owners decide to make use of it and evict those deemed tenants.
According to the letter of allotment dated July 30, 2013, the community will pay an annual rent of Sh72.
Such an allocation means the organization would own almost half of Kibera slums, the region’s biggest informal settlement area.
P.K. Kahuho signed the letter of allotment for the commissioner of lands.
According to the law, it is the commission that is supposed to issue allotment letters of such land to individuals, by working in consultation with respective County Governments.
The Nairobi County Government too then dismissed the allocation as irregular saying much as the aim is noble; the law has not been followed.
“We were not involved in this allotment as we don’t have the legal instrumental in place to transfer any land in the counties,” Nairobi County Executive for Lands, Planning and Housing Tom Odongo said.