In Summary
  • Senators led by the city's Johnson Sakaja have demanded compensation for the families and legal action against officials involved in the illegal allocation of public land.
  • The senator criticised the government for ignoring a court order against the exercise, pending the hearing and determination of a case that challenged it.
  • Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr accused the government of committing human rights violations despite being elected by the same people.
  • Senator Sakaja wants the government to provide a detailed report explaining the circumstances that led to the evictions in the Kariobangi sewage slum.

The government has come under fire following the demolition of houses in Kariobangi North, Nairobi, an action that left more than 7,000 families homeless.

Senators led by the city's Johnson Sakaja have demanded compensation for the families and legal action against officials involved in the illegal allocation of public land.

They accused the government of engaging in impunity and demanded a proper plan for people who lost their homes and other property in the demolition on Monday afternoon.

Mr Sakaja termed the demolitions “totally inhumane and ill-advised" and said they were executed at the wrong time and without reasonable notice.

COURT ORDER

The senator criticised the government for ignoring a court order against the exercise, pending the hearing and determination of a case that challenged it.

He wondered why government agencies were "in a rush" to render thousands of families homeless at a time when there is restriction of movement amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is completely incomprehensible why a government would [take this action] when the country is facing a pandemic and citizens are being urged to stay at home. The government is contravening its own guidelines,” he said.

Mr Sakaja said they support the repossession of all public land but noted that proper methods must be used as the affected are often the most vulnerable, who deserve protection from the government.

RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr accused the government of committing human rights violations despite being elected by the same people.

“Something is wrong with how this government treats human beings. What is happening in Nairobi, particularly the evictions, is a violation of human rights,” said Mr Kilonzo.

He said the action, "in the middle of a pandemic", can only be equated to an international crime as the homeless families will spends nights in the cold and be further exposed to the coronavirus.

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, whose constituents have been affected by heavy rains that have caused deaths and displacement, also lambasted the government over the evictions.

DEMANDS

Senator Sakaja wants the government to provide a detailed report explaining the circumstances that led to the evictions in the Kariobangi sewage slum.

He also wants mechanisms outlined and put in place to ensure the rights of innocent people are not infringed upon during such demolitions and repossession exercises.

In addition to giving the status of any legal action taken to charge government officials involved in the illegal allocation of public land and road reserves, the lawmaker also demanded a report on all the land in Nairobi that is officially mapped under public land and road reserves.

Senator Kilonzo called on the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee led by Mr Sakaja to find a way of immediately help the affected families.

He said the committee should visit the area in order to understand their plight..

THE CASE

The High Court stopped the demolition of houses in the area pending hearing and determination of a case by members of the Kariobangi Sewerage Self Help Group.

The hundreds of residents under the group told the court that City Hall allocated them that parcel of land.

They listed the Lands Cabinet secretary, Kasarani deputy commissioner, the registrar of titles, chief land registrar and the attorney-general as respondents in the case.

Justice Samson Okong'o certified the case filed by city lawyer John Khaminwa as urgent and set a hearing by video conference for May 7.

He warned that disregard for the court order would result in a contempt of court case.