359 Starehe tenants to relocate over housing project - Beaking Kenya News

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Tuesday, 29 December 2020

359 Starehe tenants to relocate over housing project


Nearly 360 families living in government houses in Starehe have been asked to move out to pave way for phase two of the Affordable Housing Programme.

Already, Kenya Power has disconnected electricity in all the houses, raising fears among the residents of forcible eviction.

Starehe Residents Association chair Adam Katana said they were shocked at the development because they were assured demolitions would begin in March next year.

Katana said a meeting held last month between tenants and officials from the Housing department resolved to wait until schoolchildren sit for their national examinations.

“We held a meeting with the Ombudsman and state officials where they agreed that because there are children going to school, the residents will be given three to four months,” he said.

Florence Kajuju is the chairperson of the Commission on Administrative Justice.

Katana said most of the tenants had lived there for almost two decades, with the rent deducted from their salaries.

“If you tell these tenants to vacate at this moment to another location how will they monitor their children who go to school around Starehe?” he asked.

The residents said the Covid-19 situation had made life more difficult and some have had to take loans to sustain their families. They said it would be cruel to ask them to relocate.

In 2014, the tenants sued to stop their eviction from the government housing.

They argued that the state had issued eviction notices without giving them an alternative place to settle. Justice John Mativo dismissed the case in 2018.

On June 26, last year, the tenants were again ordered to vacate the houses by July 30. They sued again.

However, Justice James Makau found the issues raised by the tenants were similar to those raised in their 2014 petition.

In his ruling, the judge allowed preliminary objections by the Attorney General and the City Hall against the petition.

In August, the High Court struck out a second petition challenging evictions in Starehe and Shauri Moyo for the Affordable Housing project.

On December 4, Housing PS Charles Hinga said 21,000 acres had been set aside for phase two of the project in Starehe, Shauri Moyo in Nairobi and Athi River.

"The completion and sale of the Park Road housing units in record time, will pave way for ground-breaking and the launch of several other AHP projects, here in the city and also across the country," he said.

Transport CS James Macharia noted that the government had a pipeline of projects across the country awaiting funding in order to be rolled out.

“These projects would be able to confer the same pride and joy that Park Road will offer so many of you who will be selected during this allocation process,” he said.

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