Ruai squatters count losses as homes demolished
Anne Wanjiku Njenga, 63, walks along her demolished fence, balancing her ageing body to collect what was left when a bulldozer pulled down part of her home.
She is among the thousands of Ruai Squatters Settlement Scheme members whose homes were destroyed when a developer claiming ownership of the land, sent a bulldozer to crash their structures in the afternoon of November 28, last year.
A man died during the eviction after a falling house crushed him while many others were left homeless and without anything except the clothes they wore that day. Threats have been persistent since 2008.
The bulldozer flattened the small houses where she kept her three goats, killing all of them and with that, she has had to put up with another challenge, that of visiting hyenas.
“The hyenas which hide in the nearby holes came and ate the dead goats. I think they smelled the blood and now they have been coming from time to time expecting more food, I want to rebuild the destroyed fence to keep them away,” explained Mrs Njenga.
Moses Mutua, another member of the scheme said the land was given to their parents by Nairobi City Council through a council resolution on September 14, 1999.
The area, he said, was previously occupied by a colonial sisal farmer and a businessman who used the 1600-acre piece of land for the crop’s production.
“When the company finally closed, our parents who used to work for him were given the land as a Golden Handshake since part of this land came to be what they called home. The local councillors lobbied and a council resolution was passed that this will be our land,” said Mr Mutua adding the council, now Nairobi County has never laid claim after the agreement.
A tree which has since grown in the contested land, they said, was planted by President Uhuru Kenyatta when he was the Minister for Local Government as part of the handover ceremony.
During the said evictions, there were over 100 anti-riot police officers providing guard, but the residents claim the eviction was done without any court order.
The developers, Customs Homes Holdings Ltd, have also produced documents prepared in 1996 by Nairobi City Council to support their claim on the land.
Judge Pauline Nyamweya had on Tuesday issued an order stopping the developer from starting construction on the site and erecting a perimeter wall around the plot.