George Kebaso and Mercy Salisi @Morarak
More than 300 residents of Pangani estate spent Monday night in the cold after Nairobi County Government earth-movers descended on their houses and demolished them.
A bedridden elderly man was among the residents who were left homeless following forceful evictions by Nairobi County.
Aisha Muhamed the man’s wife told journalists her husband has been suffering from cancer and has been bedridden for some time. The elderly man, a former civil servant, has known the Pangani house as his home for decades.
“We were given a verbal notice… then these guys came in at 1am with many council vehicles, demolished the windows so that we can leave the place. As you can see, my things are out, the sitting room is empty and the mzee cannot talk,” Muhamed said fighting back tears.
By mid-morning yesterday, the hapless man was still lying on his bed in the bedroom as his wife tried to salvage their belongings.
The incident took place two days before the scheduled hearing of a case the residents have filed in court seeking orders to stop any demolitions before a proper framework is put in place. This has already caused jitters among residents of six other old estates earmarked for upgrade according to the residents.
Apart from a gentleman’s agreement with the County Government, the residents claimed that there was no written eviction notice. There are 48-two bedroomed main houses and 24 servants quarters.
Describing the Monday night incident, the estate’s representative in the Urban Renewal Programme Committee, George Kimani said it was traumatising for everyone especially children, the sick and the elderly.
Learning for most of the school- going children from the estate was disrupted as well as, duties for adults because they had to sort out their belongings and provide safety. More than 100 youths aided by two giant bulldozers forced their way into the estate and started knocking down the houses when most of the residents were retiring to bed.
“It was brutality I haven’t witnessed recently. There were about 150 rowdy youths armed with crude weapons outside our houses who were shouting that we move out. We have a court case that was filed on July 9, and there is a hearing set for July 18.
City Hall officials claimed yesterday that the County administration wants to construct decent houses in the area as part of the National government’s plan to build affordable houses under the Big Four Agenda.