Slum dwellers protest at evictions



Mukuru kwa Njenga slum dwellers protest against the demolition of their houses outside the Milimani Law Courts on Monday. They petitioned the court to take action against the private developer, who carried out the evictions in total disregard of a court order. 

By PAUL OGEMBA Posted Monday, February 13 2012 at 22:30

Residents of a Nairobi slum have protested against the demolition of their houses by a private developer.

The developer had encroached on their homes and started evictions in total disregard of a court order, the Mukuru kwa Njenga slum dwellers claimed.

They petitioned the court to take action against Embakasi Developers Limited for forcibly and violently removing them from their houses in disregard of the order issued by Lady Justice Pauline Nyamweya on February 1.

Trampled to death

“The company is using an eviction order against the late councilor Simon Mwotolo Muteti and four others to institute a demolition against over 12,720 families and a population of over 63,600 despite the existence of a court injunction,” they said on Monday outside the Milimani Law Courts.

Violence erupted in the slums last week leaving three people dead and several others injured when the private developer sought to evict occupants of the disputed 15-acre piece of land.

The dead included two women and a child. One of the women was shot, the other electrocuted by a high voltage power cable that fell in the ensuing chaos, while the seven-year-old child was trampled to death as demonstrators fled from police officers.

Two policemen were seriously injured during the fracas. They had cuts on their faces inflicted by objects thrown at them.

Judge Nyamweya had issued temporary orders restraining Embakasi Developers Limited from demolishing houses occupied by the slum dwellers or interfering with their peaceful occupation of the land until the case they have filed was heard and determined.

The residents claimed that the eviction order used by the company was outdated since it was issued in 2009, and that it was issued in the name of another party.

As a result of the evictions, they submitted that they have been internally displaced, many of them injured and are still nursing injuries and their children cannot go to school because they have no place to stay.

They argued that forced evictions contravened the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and that the Constitution provides for the right to protection against arbitrary interference to a person’s privacy, family and home.

“Forced evictions also contravene the African Charter on Human Rights to which Kenya is a party to,” they submitted.

Spark catastrophe

They claimed that if the illegal evictions continue to be effected, the rights of over 63,000 people would be trampled upon, a situation they claimed would spark a massive socio-economic catastrophe.

They want the court to order the Commissioner of Police to refrain from aiding and abetting the abuse of law and court orders by slumlord cartels and private developers who they claimed are determined to ruin the lives of poor people.