Demolitions leave thousands in cold

Alvin Kariuki @PeopleDailyKe

Hundreds of families were  yesterday morning left homeless after their houses we demolished at Nyama Villa estate, Kayole, Nairobi.

Embakasi Member of Parliament Benjamin Gathiru, who joined residents to protest the demolitions, was arrested and arraigned in court and later released on bail.

Most families could not salvage any property. Police said the person who claims the 20-acre plot had obtained a court order to demolish the houses. But residents said they were caught by surprise as they had not been issued with any vacate notice.

Collins Okuku, 33, who was among those who were affected by the early morning demolitions insists they had not been warned.

“We were not given any notice yet I had paid three months’ rent. Someone just banged my door in the morning and when I opened it, some men told me to vacate as bulldozers were on the ground ready to demolish,” Okuku said as he pondered where he would spend the night with his pregnant wife.

Eunice Wamaitha said she was still struggling to come to terms with the day’s events and is worried that the demolition may interfere with her daughter joining secondary school in  January.

“I was fully prepared. I had bought a box and books and I had some cash in the house that I planned to deposit in the bank for my daughter’s school fees. Right now, everything is nowhere to be seen,” Wamaitha said.

The chair of Nyama Villa Residents Welfare Association Peter Maina said they had not seen any eviction notice. “We are told that there is a court order that has been issued to demolish but until now, we have not seen it,” he said.

Area police boss Joseph Gichangi said the owners of the buildings were aware of the court order but ignored it. “This matter has been going on for some time and the owners know very well. They were defeated in court,” he said.

Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris, who visited the demolition site, accused Governor Mike Sonko of neglecting the residents.

“Since morning,  I have been calling Governor Sonko but his phone is not going through yet residents who voted for him are suffering,” she said.

Passaris urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene in the matter.  “We want to see the ‘handshake’ work even here for the residents of Kayole,”she added.

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