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Storm in Kibera over list of occupants of new houses

The plan to move more than 6,000 families from the Kibera slum in Nairobi to modern housing units has been marked by a dispute over the list of beneficiaries.

The squatters, who are supposed to be the only beneficiaries of the World Bank-funded project, have disowned the list prepared by the Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC). KRC is one of the Government agencies implementing the project, commonly known as the Relocation Action Plan (RAP).

“Several strangers have been included on the list without our knowledge,” said the chairman of the Task Force for Structure Owners and Tenants, Mr Julius Owidi.

He spoke on Friday as he led hundreds of his colleagues in a demonstration over the list.

The structure owners and tenants used to run their businesses from makeshift stalls along the railway corridor in Kibera. The stalls also housed some of the squatters.

Since they had encroached on a reserve, the KRC decided to move them in 2010 under the East Africa Trade and Transport Facilitation Project.

The project is aimed at improving the railway system in the city and introducing a commuter train that moves fast.

A 40-metre wide corridor is required for the railway to be used safely in Kibera and Mukuru slums, through which it passes, before snaking into the other parts of the city.

The structures on each side of the railway line in the two slums had to be pulled down.

Traders who rented the temporary stalls and the owners were to be compensated during the implementation of the RAP.

The first phase of the project involved acquisition of land for Mukuru squatters.

For the squatters in Kibera, the plan was to build high-rise houses for them. The houses are now ready for occupation, according to the RAP team leader, Mr Vitalis Ong’ong’o.

He said complaints by the squatters would delay the occupation.