Saturday, March 27th, 2021 will forever remain a dark day for Marion Wamboi, a single mother of three and until then a proud homeowner of a three-bedroomed house in the Njiru area in the Kasarani area of Nairobi. She was left with nowhere to call home after bulldozers from Nairobi Metropolitan Services supervised by close to 200 uniformed police officers descended on the estate and within hours, the entire estate was nothing but debris.
Marion had in August of last year bought a piece of land in the area by depositing Ksh 500,000 to Njiru Neema Self Help group in which she and others were members, upon fulfilling other requirements that the Sacco had requested in order to purchase the property. She then went ahead and used close to KSh 1.5 Million to put up the structure before moving in with her children.
A woman watching helplessly as her house is demolished in the Njiru area of Kasarani in Nairobi. The Women whose property was demolished are calling on well-wishers to come to their aid as they have no shelter at the moment.
All seemed well until that fateful morning when she was woken up by loud screams from her neighbors whose houses had already been knocked down by the bulldozers that left a trail of rubbles and debris in its wake as residents tried in vain to salvage the little they could.
All they were told is that the demolition was a result of orders from above.
The structures comprised finished multi-story buildings, some awaiting owners to move in and others with construction at different stages.
“I had just moved in after completing the construction, I have used close to Ksh 2 million to buy the plot and put up the house,” said Wamboi amid tears rolling down her cheeks.
The affected individuals said they were not given an eviction notice and were caught by surprise to see the bulldozers descending on their houses.
“I thank God we came out alive with my children, I just wish they had informed us of the demolition, we could at least have tried to rescue something,” she added.
A group of women whose properties were demolished in Njiru ponders their next move after being left homeless.
Many of the families have remained stranded, confused, and hopeless as they lack alternative places to seek shelter. “I now live with a friend squeezing in their one-bedroomed house, I don’t have anything on me and now that schools are reopening I don’t know what will happen, I don’t even have their school uniform leave alone the school fees,” said Ann Nyakinywa, another victim of the eviction. “I wish someone out there can hear our cries and come to our rescue.
Jane Achieng Odhiambo says she is yet to come to terms with the demolitions and doesn’t know how or where to start from.
She was employed in an electronic shop at Nyamakima but was laid off last year when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country and since then she has been selling second-hand clothes in the CBD and getting other casual jobs.
“I have been residing in Njiru since 1992 and worked hard to build a house here. I have four children to feed and now we are homeless. With the economy battered, where are we going to get an affordable house to live in?” she posed.
38-year-old Susan Mideva who is a single mother to a two-year-old and had established a mama mboga kiosk within the estate said she witnessed her business structure and house being demolished within 10 minutes.
“Why is the government always targeting we the innocent wananchi? How do we even protect ourselves from Covid-19 if we don’t have a roof over our heads or food to eat?” she posed.
An official receipt showing purchase of land in Njiru by one of the victims of the demolition
The families said they did not know who to turn to for help as police officers who are supposed to protect them watched from a distance as the bulldozers demolished what was once a home to many families.
Most of the single mothers who lost property during the demolition have filed a case at the Kenya National Human Rights Commission seeking compensation from the government for the inhumane way that they were evicted from their homes.
Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Programme (BHESP) which visited the scene of the eviction has promised to support the young mothers as they pursue justice for their losses. The organization’s executive director Peninah Mwangi condemned the inhumane demolitions saying the national government has the constitutional responsibility to ensure citizen’s rights are protected and every Kenyan is accorded equal treatment as per the law