Demolition of the Homes Near Rivers in Nairobi Should Not Be Inhumane

32 mins read

Kenyans have witnessed and are living through one of the worst tragedies our country has faced and seen and we have gone through lots of tough times.

Kenyans are facing this very bravely and they are winning their lives back every way they can from under the waters with nothing but with hope for life as peoples. The nation will make it. We always do.

That is very Kenyan from our experiences from the 1950’s.

But it is when a nation faces tragic moments that they discover the kind of leadership and political system they have. Kenyans are trying everything they can think of to stay alive and feed their families as the nation drowns before their very eyes.

A few days ago when foreign tourists were stuck in Maasai Mara facing grave dangers to their lives the government sent helicopters and every tool they have to save the situation and get those tourists out safe. That was the right thing to do.

Nobody has talked about demolishing the tourists resorts and camping grounds in the riparian areas at Maasai Mara and Kenyans know why. The people who own those places run and actually own the country.

The heavy rains that pounded East Africa for weeks, killing hundreds, have spilled into the Maasai Mara, one of Africa’s greatest wildlife national reserves.

An aerial view of a flooded nature reserve.
A lodge in the flooded Maasai Mara National Reserve, where dozens of tourists were evacuated.Credit…Bobby Neptune/Associated Press

Devastating floods that have killed hundreds of people and displaced tens of thousands more in East Africa are now inundating parts of the Maasai Mara, one of Africa’s greatest wildlife national reserves.

On Wednesday, the Telek River broke its banks and overflowed into parts of the natural reserve, flooding many tourist camps. A spokesman for the Kenyan Red Cross, Munir Ahmed, said that more than 90 people have been evacuated, some by helicopter. Others fled through the water.

“The situation in Maasai Mara is so bad,” said Daniel Ikayo, the owner of a safari company that operates there. “There is water everywhere.”

According to the report, the frequency and intensity of such events is likely to increase.

When it comes to poor Kenyans living within 30 meters of rivers in Narobi it was an easy decision as Kindiki directed Nairobi County and regional security teams to work with the Nairobi City County Government and the National Disaster Operations Center (NDOC) to ensure immediate vacations for people living along the rivers.

The directive affects all those living within 30 meters of the Ngong, Mathare and Nairobi rivers.

In a statement on Thursday, the CS said evacuation will be mandatory in case anyone refuses to move.

Kindiki said the removal of the structures will begin immediately after the owners or residents move to safer locations.

“Nairobi County and Regional Security Teams should work with the Nairobi City County Government and the multi-agency team under the auspices of the National Disaster Operations Center (NDOC) to ensure immediate vacation or mandatory evacuation of all people within 30-meters of riparian land along the Nairobi Rivers (Mathare, Ngong and Nairobi Rivers) and will subsequently oversee the removal of all buildings and structures within the riparian land as well as the corridor planning,” Kindiki said.

He reaffirmed that the government has implemented adequate measures to provide temporary shelter, food and essential non-food supplies to all those who will be affected by the demolition and evacuation directive.

The order extends to all Kenyans living within a 30-metre radius of riparian lands on rivers and other bodies of water across the country.

Kindiki said everyone has 24 hours to move in starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

“In accordance with the relevant provisions of the Constitution of Kenya and the National Land Legislation, all persons residing within the 30 meter riparian corridor of rivers and other waterways throughout the country are hereby ordered to immediately vacate and, in any case, within 24 hours from today, May 2, 2024 at 6:30 p.m., failing which they will be subject to mandatory evacuation for their safety and their premises, whether for public or private use. will be removed.”

Here is the situation on the ground for Nairobi residents who live near the rivers in the city and it is beyond awful. The Ruto government can demolish their homes and put them in imaginary shelters but these families need homes not shelters. And what is Ruto going to do with schools and other public facilities including health facilities built next to these rivers. Tear them down too?

Maybe William Ruto can easily solve this problem by declaring or at least even just promising that all those evacuated from flooded areas like Nairobi rivers will be the first ones to get those imaginary Affordable Houses he is building and they don’t have to pay anything because the government will guarantee them those houses. Problem is that this may not happen until 2050 when most of them will already be dead from horrible living conditions.

In pictures: Kenya floods force thousands to flee

Raging floods inundated parts of Kenya forcing thousands of families to flee their homes and seek refuge as heavy rains persisted across more than two dozen counties.

Residents recover their belongings after the Nairobi river burst its banks in the Mathare Valley settlement in Nairobi

Residents sift through the rubble as they recover their belongings after the Nairobi river burst its banks and destroyed their homes within the Mathare Valley settlement in Nairobi, Kenya.

These Kenyans and their families are facing tragedies they never dreamed of in their lives and their government is telling they have a great solution for them and that is to demolish their houses within the next 30 days. What a fantastic solution that would be for these Kenyans.

At this point Kenyans do not know what the Ruto government agenda to save the country and hundreds of thousands of Kenyans from this horrific tragedy of floods, deaths and gross incompetence from his KK regime. Nobody knows anything about what seems to be the national policy of the Ruto government on the flood nightmare because this is just a bad thing all over the world and the President William Ruto expects Kenyans to buy that nonsense. They are not.

Start with the floods and the stupid demolition plan by the Ruto government in the next 30 days. People are dying and you want to demolish what remains of their houses. How the heck is that a plan from a responsible government.

Yes Kenya needs to deal with the housing and buildings on river banks in Nairobi. In fact the Ruto government set up a plan for the DP Rigathi Gachagua to clean up Nairobi river. Kenyans don’t know what the DP has done if anything about cleaning up Nairobi River. Nothing and Nothing is what the Ruto government has done about resolving the utter filth in Nairobi River. They have been sleeping on that until now when it is too late.

In reality dealing with the really traumatic flooding in Kenya is much more complex that simple political gimmicks like demolishing homes in Nairobi.

What is the Kenya government going to do about this other really horrific flooding situations in the country.

Kenya floods have killed nearly 200, displaced thousands
Evacuations are ongoing for those who live near dams that are threatening to burst
Residents wade through the waters on May 3 after their home was flooded after the Nzoia River burst its banks due to heavy rainfall and the backflow from Lake Victoria, in Budalangi, Kenya. (Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)

Floods and landslides in Kenya have killed nearly 200 people, displaced 100,000 and strained critical infrastructure, with unprecedentedly high water levels at two dams forcing the evacuation of villagers at risk, officials said on Wednesday.

The heavy rain, which accelerated in mid-April, is expected to continue in already hard-hit areas in the coming weeks, the Kenya Meteorological Department said in its most recent forecast. May usually marks the end of the rainy season.

In Budalangi, western Kenya, residents have had to carry their belongings away from their submerged houses using boats and motorbikes, after the Nzoia River burst its banks, spilling over the land for kilometres.

Government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna said on Twitter that over the past three weeks, floods had displaced 100,000 people — complicating efforts to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed 24 people in the country.

The government is providing food and water to the displaced people and has also requested the health ministry provide them with masks as a precautionary measure.

The floods and landslides have been concentrated in western Kenya and have so far killed 194 people, said Eugene Wamalwa, the minister in charge of relations between the regional leadership and the national government.

“Yesterday alone, we have lost 30 people in a matter of 24 hours,” Wamalwa said.

Twin effects of floods, coronavirus

Energy Minister Charles Keter said the water levels at two major Kenyan dams were unprecedentedly high.

The two dams, Masinga and Turkwel, represent about six per cent of Kenya’s total installed capacity.

As Masinga also feeds into several other dams, officials advised people living near those downstream reservoirs to evacuate.

“We are telling people who are downstream, Garissa all the way to Tana River — things are worsening,” Keter said about residents of the two eastern counties.

“We are asking them to move. Let them not wait for water, because this is historical.”

An aerial view on May 3 shows flood waters near the Sigiri Bridge in Budalangi, Kenya. (Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)

Security officials were already evacuating residents in high-risk areas, Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i added.

“We are not waiting for people to move — we are moving some people away from danger,” he said.

The floods have also destroyed 8,000 acres of rice fields, said Sicily Kariuki, the cabinet secretary for water and irrigation.

Kenya was already facing a looming rice shortage due to shipping disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The heavy rains and landslides could also lead to water shortages, Kariuki said.

“The infrastructure to deliver water has been washed away … pipelines have been clogged,” said Kariuki, asking residents of several cities, including the capital of Nairobi, to use their water in a “rational” manner.

Thursday, May 2, 2024 – Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore has dismissed her Public Service counterpart Moses Kuria’s proposal to do away with permanent employment terms for civil servants and place government employees on contracts as a personal opinion.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Labour Day celebrations held at Uhuru Gardens yesterday, Bore categorically stated that the government had not yet considered such a proposal and that Moses Kuria was making his own pronouncements.

According to her, she would not accept the contractual payment agreements as proposed by CS Kuria.

Bore also assured public servants that she would defend their rights if the proposal were to be debated. She further advised government employees not to be anxious asking them to continue working normally without harbouring the fear of losing their jobs.

“I want to assure Kenyan workers especially those in the Public Service that their jobs are safe and the opinions they heard from my colleague were personal opinions and if anything comes up, I will be defending their rights,” stated Bore.

And this flood has affected everybody in Kenya. Today my nephew who runs our farm at home calls me and says the water is flowing from up because in our place down is a little river which gets messy but we never worry about it. But water coming in floods from up our home we have to deal with it.

The one thing that got him really pissed off is that the flood passed over his grandmother’s gravesite. That is just not acceptable for him and the rest of the family. So the young man got workers and they built tunnels for the water to go right to the river downstairs.

Then my great friend and niece, a young Kenyan girl who is in Thika in College where she has been for two years now. Then she tells me the roads are closed and she can’t make it to the college.

Then I tell my son here at our home in Toronto that this flood in Kenya is becoming a big nightmare for everybody. He reminds me that I used to tell him my mother told me that my only job in Canada is to help the family.

I figured why this guy and his grandmother were such great friends. They used to make food together because my mother told him not to eat street food with me in Bondo Town. I Know them very well. Those two.

Traffic At Snail’s Pace On Waiyaki Way Following Thursday Evening Rains

By Wananchi Reporter Published on: May 02, 2024

Traffic at snail's pace on Waiyaki Way following Thursday evening rains

A picture showing traffic snarl up along Waiyaki Way, Nairobi, taken on Thursday, May 2, 2024 at 5.00pm.

Thousands of motorists are currently held up in heavy traffic jam along the busy Waiyaki Way in Nairobi.

In the meantime Kenyans have to deal with real life whichever way they can and they are doing it very fine as fine can be.

I love Waiyaki Way because that is how you come to Nairobi City by road and it is a beautiful highway passing next to my hometown (UoN). Sometimes we were coming down and there were blocks on the road. My buddy Njuguna Mutahi tells us to drive around it and don’t stop or fight them and he said just go. That was on Waiyaki Way for us and then you are in the city.

And Raila Odinga visits Mukuru Kwa Njenga due for Ruto demolition and speaks the truth to power.

Speaking during an event to donate food items to flood victims in Embakasi South, Raila criticised Ruto’s running of the country.

He accused Ruto of failing to steer the country on the right path.

The ODM leader recounted claims by the government that Azimio was hindering development projects in the country.

He questioned if anything tangible had been done in the country since the opposition coalition party called off street protests.

“Now, when they were spreading rumours everywhere that Azimio wants to destroy the economy, and that’s why it held them hostage, and they can’t run things. 

“We said, “Okay, let’s stand aside and watch.” 

“Now, it’s been a year since then, has the situation improved? 

“Has anything changed? Haven’t they failed? 

“They failed, and even if they stay for ten years, they’ll fail. 

“Zakayo doesn’t know the way,” Raila stated.

The ODM leader further observed that the issue with Ruto’s government was that it was full of corrupt individuals.

Raila accused Ruto of appointing corrupt lieutenants, pointing out the fertiliser scandal as a case for reference.

“All those in his camp, those he chose, are all thieves. 

“Their job is theft. Everywhere they open their operations, it’s theft. Just the other day, they said they were bringing fertiliser; they came to sell rocks to the people, claiming it was fertiliser,” Raila added.

At the same time, Raila took a swipe at Ruto’s CSs among them Ezekiel Machogu (Education), Susan Nakhumicha (Health), and Moses Kuria (Public Health) all of whom he called useless.

Let me say this about Mukuru Kwa Rueben Njenga. All my life a the University of Nairobi from 1981 – 1984 I lived at the Railway Training School (RTS RATASA as we called it) with my aunt and the family in South B.

In fact the first day I went to college my mother personally took me to Nairobi and to her sister’s house and told her she wants her to bring me back the way she gave me to her. I was telling my mother not to push it so far but you cannot argue with her. She sets her standards and that is it.

So I have a place at campus but as soon as we are out of college I am at my aunt’s place at RTS. Next to that grand institution RTS is Mukuru Kwa Njenga. There is just a river to cross and you get there. I used to go there all the time.

And then at the RTS they had the best football training fields where me and my son used to watch ex players from Gor Mahia and other teams training young players. The Mukuru boys were very much in the teams. Just great.

And then when I came out prison in 1983 after 67 students from Nairobi and Kenyatta Universities were released following our arrest after the August 1, 1982 Coup attempt. Then I go back to my aunt’s house in RTS and I find this young woman there who says she knows me from my college days and she tells me my aunt bought a new house in the Golden Gates area and she can take me there.

I thought she was a police informer and told her I will just find the aunt house by myself. I did because she gave me very good instructions how to get there. I wish I could apologize to her.

Mukuru Kwa Rueben Njenga now is a huge housing and business complex and nobody is going to destroy it. Lets deal with that facts and then the nation gets into the business of how to resolve the disaster in the country. My real concern is that Kenyans are getting too scared to even talk about problems in their government.

As a person who writes all the time I know that because I am very limited in what I can write and talk about now almost as if we are back in the Moi dictatorship days. It is frightening but we are going to overcome it as we always do.

Sunday May 5, 2024 – Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s inner circle has downplayed the African Union Chairmanship bid as being a matter of life and death for the ODM leader.

And now that Raila is speaking out for Kenyans under water being threatened by the Ruto regime for further destruction of their homes the Ruto noisy little boys are threatening to stop Raila’s AUC bid.

The point Ruto is making is that they are trying to get Raila out of national politics so that Ruto can bully and destroy the country as he wants. If that is the case Raila should walk away from the AUC job right now. It is not worth that much for Raila and for Kenyans.

It doesn’t matter whether Raila wins the 2027 presidential elections or not. It matters more if Raila and Azimio can save the country from total destruction by the Ruto regime now. Kenyans are not idiots to be fooled by some AUC job for Raila Odinga as a gift so that their homes and lives are destroyed with nobody to stand and fight for them.

Read:President Ruto Announces Ksh10,000 Aid for Flood-Evacuated Households, Initiates Affordable Housing Project in Mathare

Which families are those to begin with? Where and how do they apply?

Babu Owino calls out Gov’t for being insensitive after Mukuru demolitions
A resident of Mukuru on site. PHOTO/Babu Owino

A resident of Mukuru on site. PHOTO/Babu Owino

Embakasi East Member of Parliament Babu Owino has condemned the government following the demolitions in Mukuru, a densely populated informal settlement in Nairobi.

The demolitions began on Friday morning, leaving thousands of residents homeless. This came after Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki announced that all Kenyans living near water reservoirs and dams must vacate immediately or face mandatory evacuation.

Mukuru demolitions

The abrupt demolitions left many residents with little time to salvage their belongings, and their homes were reduced to rubble.

Part of household items for residents of Mukuru Kwa Njenga. PHOTO/Babu Owino

Part of household items for residents of Mukuru Kwa Njenga.

Babu Owino expressed his dismay at the timing of the demolitions, questioning the government’s decision to evict people during heavy rainfall and floods without providing alternative housing.

He criticized President William Ruto for not understanding the struggles of the country’s “hustlers” and hinted at public unrest if the government continues its current policies.

“This government is so insensitive. How do you evict people from Mukuru slums in the midst of heavy rainfall and floods? Where do you expect them to go? Ruto, the dynasty, cannot understand what hustlers are going through. One day State House will be FLOODED with people,” Babu Owino stated.

In response to the demolitions, Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Coalition Party leader Raila Odinga also condemned the government’s actions.

Mukuru foods distribution

During a food distribution exercise in the Mukuru slums, Raila urged the government to build suitable housing for residents before demolishing their current homes.

He also called on the government to declare the ongoing floods a national disaster, which would allow the country to seek international assistance to mitigate the impact of severe weather conditions.

Demolished structures in Mukuru PHOTO/Babu Owino

The demolitions occurred amid an ongoing national crisis caused by heavy rains. Approximately 196,296 people have been affected, with at least 210 lives lost due to severe weather conditions, including an additional 22 fatalities.

Govt To Support All Families Affected By Floods

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 6 – The government will support all families affected by floods  in various parts of the country, President William Ruto has said. 

The President regretted that the floods have caused death and destruction of property for thousands of Kenyans across the country. 

He was speaking at Kiamaiko in Mathare, Nairobi, when he toured the area on Monday to assess the flooding situation and check on the victims displaced  by heavy rains.

At the same time, President Ruto announced that each household affected will be given KSh10,000 to look for alternative accommodation for a period of three months. 

We will not support your AU job bid if you keep attacking RUTO – KIMANI ICHUNG’WAH tells RAILA ODINGA to shut up!!

Sunday, May 5, 2024 – National Assembly Majority leader, Kimani Ichungwah, has sent a warning to former Prime Minister Raila Odinga over his renewed attacks on President William Ruto.

Since the beginning of this year, Raila Odinga has been mute on issues affecting the country due to the fact that Ruto promised to support his African Union Chairperson bid.

But the ongoing floods which have claimed the lives of many Kenyans have forced Jakom to break his silence, accusing President William Ruto’s administration of being incompetent.

However, speaking in Iten on Saturday, Ichung’wah boastfully told off Mr. Odinga against lecturing the President on matters of politics and the economy, saying Ruto had beaten him in both issues by winning the 2022 elections and revamping the economy respectively.

The Kikuyu MP instead advised the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader to show his gratitude to the Head of State by staying humble.

“Be humble and respect your chief campaigner Ruto, who is campaigning for you.”

Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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