Nairobi MCAs launch attack on Kenya Power, Kenya Railways over demolitions
By Josphat Thiong'o | May 2nd 2019
Nairobi MCAs have launched a scathing attack on National Government agencies over the continued demolition of houses in the capital.
The ward representatives yesterday lashed out at Kenya Power and Kenya Railways companies for the demolition of houses located on way leaves and sewerage lines, despite an order halting the demolitions by the Nairobi regeneration taskforce vice chairperson, Governor Mike Sonko.
Led by County Assembly Majority leader Abdi Guyo, the ward reps were concerned that over 40,000 people in Matopeni ward alone had been left homeless in the wake of the demolitions, and no alternative plan had been implemented to provide shelter to the victims.
“It is ironical that the National Government is demolishing houses yet it is struggling to build more under the big four agenda. We agree that those on wayleaves should relocate but the government needs to stop the demolition of houses that are beyond twenty meters from the power lines,” stated Guyo.
Residents affected are majorly those on the Power line corridor from Ruai, Utawala, Mowlem and Mihango wards. Kenya Power guidelines allow structures built 20 metres on either side of a 220kV power line and 15 metres on either side of a 132kV line.
“We will not sit back and witness injustice to our people. The government must implement a relocation plan if the demolitions are to continue,” added the majority leader.
Mihango ward representative, Paul Kados called out the agencies for being ‘two-faced’ saying that Kenya Power and Kenya Railways companies had carried out surveys and done measurements and gave residents the go ahead to build, only to come back and demolish the houses.
“Most of these houses were built through loans and the landlords are now unable to repay the loans. The Governor issued orders halting the demolitions and as the people’s representatives we will ensure that this is implemented,” said Kados.
The leaders who were speaking in Matopeni during the Madaraka day fete further questioned why the agencies were all over sudden intent on flattening the houses, yet they were aware of the construction of the houses from the onset.
“The government as an investor should avert our people’s plight because they too have a right to housing. We will not support a government that makes our people suffer,” said Roysambu MCA, Peter Warutere.
Kayole North ward representative Moses Mwangi revealed a ploy to stage protests across the city should the government and the relevant agencies not heed to their calls to halt the demolitions.
Residents who spoke to The Standard revealed that they had been subjected to psychological torture for they were always living in fear of not knowing when the dreaded Sany bulldozer would strike.
“We have witnessed some of our neighbors who were unceremoniously thrown out of their houses when they least expected it and we are worried that we could suffer the same fate,” said Michael Mureithi, a matopeni ward resident.
Judy Ngure, also a resident, faulted the government agencies for not erecting beacons which would in turn inform the residents on the distance up to which they should build from the wayleaves.
“The lack of clear demarcations has also made it haRd for us to know where we stand and this has led to people being victims of the demolitions. It is not easy being displaced from a place you have called home for more than five years without anywhere else to go,” observed Ngure.
Last week, Governor Sonko ordered for a halt in the demolition of houses in Nairobi to allow for consultations aimed at identifying a relocation plan for the victims.
In March over 2, 000 residents of Chokaa Estate in Mihang’o Ward, were rendered homeless and left counting losses after Kenya Power demolished buildings erected on way leaves.
Last December, the owners of the houses built in Buruburu Farmers Land, Njiru, Mowlem and Saika were issued notices to demolish earmarked structures. So far, more than 600 structures have been demolished. Other affected areas include Zimmerman and Komarock.
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