George Kebaso @Morarak
Human rights groups have condemned the manner in which Pangani estate residents were evicted from their houses on Monday night as the bulldozers continued to flatten the buildings yesterday.
Led by Haki Jamii, the groups said the manner in which the evictions were done did not adhere to the acceptable human rights standards, and breached the Constitution.
Haki Jamii executive director Pauline Vata said the move to evict over 300 residents, amounted to contempt of court coming two days to a hearing scheduled for today. The residents went to court seeking orders to stop being evicted at least up to the end of the month.
But yesterday, despite the anticipated court ruling, Nairobi County bulldozers continued to flatten the remaining houses under tight police security.
“Whichever way you look at it, forced evictions done at night are unconstitutional and a mockery to the Bill of Rights, a mockery to the Big Four agenda on affordable housing as well,” Vata said when she led the activists on a tour of the site.
“The evictions should not have taken place at night. It should have been preceded by the proper identification of those taking part in the demolitions, presentation of the formal authorisations for the action, be carried out in a manner that respects the dignity, right of life and security of those affected,” she added flanked by members of the Pamoja Trust and Inuka Kenya.
Vata said before embarking on the evictions, the County government should have ensured special measures to guarantee effective protection of groups and people who are vulnerable such as women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
The eviction was undertaken by the county government to make room for new housing units, which are among those planned to solve the housing crisis in the city.
The rights groups demanded that the County government employ humanity during evictions in the remaining six council estates earmarked for a similar programme.
“We, therefore, demand for provisions of security to the remaining tenants of the other estates earmarked for a similar programme as we finalise negotiations with the Nairobi County government,” Haki Jamii Land Programme officer Samuel Olandosaid.