MPs raise alarm over ongoing demolition of property on riparian land

Tuesday, June 4th, 2024 22:00 | By
Members of Parliament in a parliamentary session. PHOTO/@NAssemblyKE/X
Members of Parliament in a parliamentary session. PHOTO/@NAssemblyKE/X

Concerns are mounting in Parliament over the ongoing demolition of properties on riparian land, with Members of Parliament criticizing the government's approach.

In May, Interior and National Administration Cabinet Secretary (CS) Kithure Kindiki issued a stern warning to individuals living and operating on riparian reserves, urging them to vacate immediately or face forced eviction.

Government directive

Speaking in Saku, Marsabit County, on May 10, 2024, during a tree-planting event for the National Tree Growing Programme, Kindiki spoke of the government's duty to protect citizens and the environment.

Demolished structures in Mukuru PHOTO/Babu Owino
Demolished structures in Mukuru PHOTO/Babu Owino/Facebook

He noted that the law prohibits anyone from living within 30 meters of a river.

However, MPs have voiced serious concerns about the manner of the demolitions. Starehe MP Amos Mwago expressed alarm over the human rights implications, describing the process as excessively forceful and poorly planned.

“Hon Speaker, in May 2024 the Government directed that all structures put up on riparian land be demolished following the heavy rains that have caused flooding across the country," the MP stated.

“However the manner in which these demolitions are carried out are deeply concerning and raises and questions about the respect for human rights.”

Mwago requested statements from the Chairpersons of the Departmental Committees on Lands and Internal Security, stating that the demolition process has rendered many victims homeless and without proper planning or transparent compensation.

“These demolitions are taking place without a clear and transparent compensation plan. The purported compensation appears to only target a few individuals,” Mwago informed the House.

Embakasi West MP Mark Mwenje echoed these concerns, stating that the demolitions are creating Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) instead of protecting them.

“The situation as it is Honourable Speaker is quite dire because the Government is creating Internally Displaced Persons instead of protecting and creating housing for society,” Mwenje said.

Dagoretti North MP Beatrice Elachi called for a detailed report on the demolitions and compensation.

"The two committee chairpersons should provide a list of all properties on riparian land set for demolition and a list of those who are to be compensated," Elachi suggested.

Undergoing demolition of a two-storey-building. PHOTO/Alvin Mwangi.
Undergoing demolition of a two-storey building. PHOTO/Alvin Mwangi

During the demonstrations, several people were left homeless one of the scenarios being in Mukuru where many were left stranded.

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