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Nairobi slum dwellers violently chase road officials on demolition mission

By Mercy Adhiambo | January 10th 2016

KENYA: Dwellers of a Nairobi slum violently chased away roads officials who had gone to demolish structures in the area.

Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) workers who had come with two Lorries and a tractor to destroy iron sheet structures that they claim occupy a road reserve were forced to flee when the residents of Deep Sea slums in Westlands descended on them with stones and threatened to injure them if they do not leave immediately.

The residents who were chanting slogans dared the road officials to advance towards them at their own risk, saying they will not leave unless they are fully compensated by the government.

The officials drove off when youths armed with stones and sticks started moving menacingly towards them.

KURA had advised them to vacate the area by issuing them with 30 day notice which expired on January 8. In the notice, the authority told the residents that they should comply so that the road contractor takes over the site.

Engineer Silas Kinoti, Director General KURA said that they have been having a series of discussion with the residents and they had agreed on a proper way of moving.

"I do not understand why they got so violent. We had talked about the issue for more than a year now. We have even compensated them so I do not know who is inciting them," said Kinoti.

He further noted that there are only a few members who are dissatisfied, and they are trying to ruin the development plans that the government has come up with.

However, the residents claimed that there was favoritism in the compensation process, and most people had been left out in the compensation.

Ruth Kyalo who has stayed in the Deep Sea slum for more than ten years said that the road officials have been threatening them but no compensation has been done.

"We have not received anything. I own a shop and two houses here, so for them to come and tell me to leave without telling me where exactly they want me to go is unfair," said Kyalo.

Kevin Maina who is also a resident said the people who have been compensated are only being offered Sh. 5000 which is too little to meet the cost of relocation.

The residents also accused Josiah Mwangi, the KURA official in charge of the compensation for not being straight forward on how much each resident was supposed to get.

When contacted for comment, Mwangi said he is not in a position to talk about the issue.

While carrying a tattered Kenyan flag, the residents vowed not to move until the roads authority addresses their grievances in a proper manner.

Engineer Kinoti said they will go back to the drawing board and discuss the issue. He further said they had come up with a solid mechanism for redress for any aggrieved person and hopes that the residents will soon pave way for the construction of the planned road corridor.

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