Nairobi — Amnesty International Kenya has called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to issue an Executive Order stopping all evictions aimed at reclaiming public land until the country contains coronavirus pandemic that has so far killed 26 people and infected 582.
Speaking during a virtual meeting, the organization’s Director Irungu Houghton said it is inhumane and unfair for the government to render people homeless at a time the country is dealing with a global pandemic and floods.
The organisation is concerned over the recent evictions in Kariobango where more than 5000 people were displaced.
“Due notice must be given to people being evicted but it should not happen under this climate when we have floods all over, it must not happen in the presence of a court order that is protecting people that have lived on this property for many years regardless of the dispute over it,” he said, “Last concern really has been around coronavirus. That the evictions took place during this time is quite unforgivable.”
Sam Olando from Pamoja Trust urged the president to direct the Ministries which were involved in the eviction of over 5000 people in Kariobangi on Monday to institute corrective measures on how they will be resettled.
“Call upon the Ministry of Housing to make legislative measures to subsist throughout the pandemic to ensure that there shall be no recurrence of such demolitions and forced evictions for as long as the pandemic shall subsist and thereafter, the Government of Kenya to take full responsibility for the injustices that these families have suffered and to make reparatory measures to ensure that they are compensated and protected from recurrent breach of their rights,” Olando said.
The demolitions were done despite an existing court order obtained recently as part of the government efforts to reclaim thousands of acres of grabbed land meant for sewerage systems, water storage tanks, water treatment plants and future expansion.
Some of the affected residents claim they had allotment letters and were last year issued with title deeds.
It all started in Ruai, where more than 2,000 acres were recovered, in a move to repossess 63 percent of the land that had been set aside for water and sewerage facilities.
According to the government, the city has 50 percent sewerage coverage- despite its growing population, as a result causing a major deterioration of the ecosystem and public health.
With the ongoing heavy rains and the COVID-19 pandemic, there are concerns of a humanitarian crisis- if those displaced are not given an alternative, various leaders have warned.