State House has now confirmed the indefinite suspension of demolition of buildings following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s intervention that stopped more evictions from disputed parcels of land in Embakasi, Nairobi.
In a statement, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua said demolition of properties in all parts of the country has been immediately suspended until further notice.
“Further guidance will be issued following consultations with all relevant State Agencies and Stakeholders and Stakeholders,” he added.
President Uhuru moved in after Muthithi Investments moved into Nyama Villa area in Kayole and commenced demolition of buildings constructed on a 20-acre piece of land it claims ownership to, in the process creating a humanitarian crisis as hundreds were rendered homeless.
The firm, which is owned by by Mike Kamau Maina, the proprietor of Marble Arch Hotel in Nairobi, has been engaged in a tussle with those who bought the land and put up buildings there. Though Maina obtained a court order some years back, the government was reluctant to implement it given the high value of properties that have been put their over the last 20 years.
It instead asked him to seek an out of court settlement with the new owners with a view to reaching a sale agreement.
This time round, however, the company managed to implement the order in a shock and awe manner that has left both the buildings’ owners and tenants in tears as they recount their losses.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, who has been missing in action until he received a call from President Uhuru, who has been in Vienna, Austria for the Africa-European Union High Level Forum, moved to the site and ordered the bulldozers to be moved out.
Even before Sonko announced at a meeting at City Hall with victims of the evictions that he had spoken to the President and agreed to put a stop to the exercise, which targets 600 commercial and residential buildings in the wider Embakasi area, during the festive season, other Nairobi leaders had confirmed Uhuru’s intervention, a development likely not to auger well for the governor.
According to Nairobi Women Representative Esther Passaris, Embakasi Central MP Benjamin Gathiru had confirmed to her on Wednesday that the President had acted to stop further suffering.
On Tuesday, some of the Nyama Villa owners had accused the governor, who during the campaigns had promised to resolve the dispute, was not picking calls.
In a strange twist, the evictions are being effected on the strength of fake title deeds, vowing to take action against them in court.
Earlier today when I issued orders to stop demolition of buildings in Kayole estate where a private developer used fake title deeds to get eviction notices from our courts. I’ll pursue the matter in court and ensure the victims of this inhumane act get justice. pic.twitter.com/FEIlzEy7ZM
— Mike Sonko (@MikeSonko) December 20, 2018