Stop evictions till Covid-19 is controlled, activists tell state

Haki Yetu says the government has failed to protect its citizens against forced eviction.

In Summary

• Ten lobby groups say evictions go against all human rights laws, especially during a global pandemic. 

• The CLNSA wants the government to halt further evictions until the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

The Coast Land Non-State Actors at the Haki Yetu offices in Mombasa on Wednesday.
NO MORE DEMOLITIONS: The Coast Land Non-State Actors at the Haki Yetu offices in Mombasa on Wednesday.


Land sector lobby groups at the coast have asked the government to ensure there are no more evictions in the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Over 10,000 families in Nairobi and Mombasa have been evicted and displaced with state security help since the Covid-19 outbreak, the rights groups said.

The Coast Land Non-State Actors, a coalition of over 10 lobby groups said this goes against all human rights laws.  

They said they will use all legal means to ensure there are no more evictions. 

Haki Yetu land and housing program officer Furaha Charo told journalists at their office that the government has failed to protect its citizens.  

“In fact, in almost all cases, the government is the perpetrator,” Charo said.

Coast Civil Society Network chair Zedekiah Adika said there is no hurry to solve disputes. 

“Land is going nowhere. It is there. You can solve all land issues after we get through this current pandemic,” Adika said.  

Adika said it is unfortunate that the government speaks one thing and does the opposite.

“You are dehumanising human beings when you evict them from their homes yet there is nowhere else to go.

“You have restricted movement in and out of Mombasa and Nairobi and told people to stay at home at night. Then you come at night and demolish their houses. Where do you want them to go?” Adika asked.

In Nairobi, more than 7,000 households in Kariobangi slums, Korogocho market, Kisumu Ndogo and Nyayo village were evicted between May 4 and 6 after the government demolished their houses to reclaim land.

In Mombasa, some 300 Utange families and another 36 in Changamwe New Flats area were also evicted from their houses.

The Mombasa county government demolished about 500 mitumba kiosks at Kongowea market, which support more than 2,000 households.

Haki Yetu executive director Gabriel Dolan said some faceless people are eying the land on which these demolished houses in Nairobi and Mombasa sat.

He faulted Cabinet Secretaries Mutahi Kagwe (Health) and Fred Matiang’i (Interior) for insisting that people stay at home then go ahead and demolish their houses.

He asked them to address the eviction issue in their daily Covid-19 briefings.

“It seems some people are hiding behind the masks to benefit from the evictions. Who gave permission to evict people in Utange?” Dolan asked.

Muslims for Human Rights rapid response officer Francis Auma asked residents to resist any eviction efforts wherever they are.

He said the police are being used by some wealthy individuals to evict people.

“They are now taking advantage of the courts not working fully to grab land,”  Auma said.

(edited by o. owino)

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