Tenants move to court challenging pending Affordable Housing evictions

Friday, March 8th, 2024 02:15 | By
Workers at the construction site of the Ruiru Affordable Housing project, Kiambu. PHOTO/Print
Workers at the construction site of the Ruiru Affordable Housing project, Kiambu. PHOTO/Print

Over 10 tenants living in government quarters along Jogoo Road in Nairobi which are earmarked for demolition to pave way for construction of modern houses in the Affordable Housing Programme have petitioned the High Court to suspend their pending evictions.

The estate has a total of 365 housing units mainly occupied by civil servants. It is however not clear whether the petitioners are still in public service. 

The government gave the residents of several estates in Nairobi’s eastlands 60 days notice to vacate the houses to pave way for the construction of modern houses under the affordable housing programme.

The notice to vacate the houses was issued on February 29 by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Public Works.

It directed the occupants to surrender the houses to the Director of Estate Management by April 30. But the petitioners led by Kennedy Ochuodho argue that the decision is unconstitutional because as occupants, they were not consulted and there was no public participation undertaken before the notice was issued.

The litigants say the houses are 100 percent perfect for occupancy and are as a result fully occupied.

Further, they say the government has in the recent past misled them to believe that the houses are not among those likely to be demolished.

According to the litigants, the government painted the houses and repaired roads leading to the houses, giving the impression that they were not among the ones earmarked for demolition.

They also say there is no justification for the demolitions and want the court to temporarily suspend the evictions pending hearing of the matter.

The petitioners say that the occupants of the houses are junior civil servants mainly low income earners who will suffer greatly if the government goes ahead with the project.

“The Jogoo Road Phase 2 estate houses civil servants who fall within the lower income grades, such as government drivers, clerks, cleaners whose housing allowance ranges from as low as Sh4000 to Sh6500 per month,” states Ochuodho in an affidavit supporting his application.

“The said individuals therefore are not financially capable of raising the amounts required to pay deposits and rent that they will obviously be required to in commercial spaces especially in the short period of two months.” 

They accuse the government of violating Article 10 of the constitution by failing to address their grievances.

 “The petitioners have children who go to different schools within the locality. The action by the (government) in seeking to abruptly evict tenants from their homes will violate the children’s right to education,” they aver, further stating that the school  calendar is already underway and it will be difficult for the tenants’ children to get new schools.

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