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State now free to construct 7,000 housing units in Eastlands

The government is free to construct over 7,000 housing units in Shauri Moyo, Starehe constituency, after the High Court dismissed a case filed by civil servants.

The more than 330 civil servants moved to court in 2014 and obtained orders blocking the Ministry of Lands from ejecting them from their houses in Starehe and Shauri Moyo, to pave way for the construction of the houses.

The proposed project had entitled civil servants to homes of between Sh4 million and Sh25 million to be paid in a period of 20 years.

Investors were to build the units under a public-private partnership in which they would finance construction, operate for some time to recoup their investments and profit before transferring ownership to the State.

LOW COST HOUSES

In the plan, the government was to provide 40 acres of land for the developers to build low-cost houses in the project dubbed Civil Servants Housing Scheme.

On Monday, Justice John Mativo lifted the orders stopping the construction and dismissed the case by civil servants, saying the government is under no legal obligation to furnish the residents with alternative accommodation.

“For avoidance of doubt, a landlord in service tenancy as in this case or in any other tenancy is not obligated to seek and obtain the consent of a tenancy prior to issuing a notice to terminate the tenancy,” the Judge said.

The group led by Justus Muthumbi and Timothy Wanyanga wanted the State to give them alternative houses before their current houses are demolished.

They said that they have been residing in the low-cost houses, paying monthly rent of between Sh3,000 and Sh5,000.

They accused the Ministry and the Inspector-General of Police of harassing and intimidating them to vacate yet they have nowhere to move to.

NOT INVOLVED

They also claimed that the government had failed to involve them in the plans and there was no indication that they would be allocated the houses upon completion.

It was also their contention that the Ministry had failed to come up with the environmental impact assessment – among other requirements – before the houses are build.

They argued that other civil servants in Shauri Moyo area C were first allocated houses before eviction.

The civil servants were first issued with an eviction notice on November 3, 2014.

The notice was extended several times as they sought to iron out their differences but the residents eventually moved to court and stopped the scheme.

In defence, the Ministry said it is government’s plan to assist civil servants to own houses or access rental housing units at affordable rates.

The plan involves building of 2,000 houses in Shauri Moyo estate, 6,400 houses in Starehe and 1,800 units in Park Road.

NGARA SCHEME

In 2012, the National Housing Corporation built the 656-unit Ngara Housing Project in Nairobi, the largest civil servant housing scheme in Kenya in recent times, at a cost $2 billion (Sh200 billion).

The scheme consists of two and three bedroom apartments, which were sold for Sh3.2 million and Sh4.2 million respectively.

The scheme is said to have benefited thousands of civil servants who either rented the houses or resold them to the public.

Most of those who bought into the project benefited from a five per cent mortgage facility through the Civil Service Housing Fund in Kenya, which had a repayment period of up to 18 years.