INHUMANE ACTIONS

Sonko threatens to ask ICC to probe forced Nairobi evictions

He claims the displacement and evictions were crimes against humanity

In Summary

• Sonko wants the UN Security Council to pass a resolution requiring the Secretary-General to form an international commission of inquiry on Nairobi evictions.

• Parklands ward representative Jayendra Malde has drafted a bill that seeks to illegalise evictions on weekends and in rainy seasons.

Desperate Kariobangi North residents after their eviction on May 4.
TOTAL RUIN: Desperate Kariobangi North residents after their eviction on May 4.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

Governor Mike Sonko says he might ask the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate "forced and arbitrary" displacement of Nairobi residents.

He claims the displacement and evictions were crimes against humanity.

“It is unconstitutional and in gross violation of the economic rights to accessible and adequate housing under Article 43 of the Constitution of Kenya and Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to demolish homes and businesses of the poor and helpless residents of Nairobi especially now when Covid-19 is ravaging Kenyans,” Sonko said on Sunday.

The governor said he would also send a copy to the United Nations Security Council for the passage of a resolution requiring the secretary-general to form a commission of inquiry on Nairobi evictions.

He spoke in Kaloleni during a visit to demolitions and evictions victims. He, in particular, accused the Nairobi Metropolitan Services of being behind the demolitions without notices.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko signs the agreement transferring four functions of the county to the government at State House, Nairobi on February 25, 2020.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko signs the agreement transferring four functions of the county to the government at State House, Nairobi on February 25, 2020.
Image: PSCU

Sonko said the Constitution vests public land in both the national and county governments.

“Land in Nairobi is not a transferred function as it is not even one of the functions listed in Fourth Schedule of the Constitution,” he said.

On February 25, Sonko handed over the key functions of the county to the national government, pursuant to Article 187 of the Constitution by signing the deed of transfer.

The transfer involved health and transport services, public works, utilities and ancillary services and planning and development.

The governor expressed surprise that the BBI report does not address the issue of forced displacement and evictions.

 

This year alone, there have been evictions in Kariobangi, Ruai, Kibra, Dagoretti, Gikomba and Kaloleni.

Sonko also faulted President Uhuru Kenyatta over the demolition of properties and evictions in Nairobi to pave the way for development projects.

He addressed the head of state: "I have seen you have asked for forgiveness, and I hope going forward forceful evictions will not happen again. With a lot of pain and bitterness let me say this, Article 40(4) of our Kenyan Constitution must apply before demolitions and evictions of this nature are carried out.” 

On October 6, some Kibera residents were left counting losses after their houses and business structures were bulldozed.

The Kenya Railways Corporation was reclaiming land next to the railway line that cuts through the slum.

In May, about 5,000 residents of Kariobangi North were left homeless after the government flattened their homes to repossess the grabbed Dandora Estate Waste Sewerage Plant land.

The evictions happened during rains and at the height of Covid-19 pandemic.

On May 8, the national government suspended demolitions for four months after a public outcry.

Two weeks later, bulldozers arrived at Ruai at night. People were ordered to vacate their houses before demolitions began.

At least 1,500 people spent the night in the cold as rains pounded the city.

On August 14, some Kawangware tenants fought off goons contracted to evict them although they had an order stopping the eviction from the Rent Restriction Tribunal.

Parklands ward representative Jayendra Malde has come up with a bill seeking to illegalise to evictions on weekends and during the rainy seasons.

The Nairobi City County Evictions, Resettlement and Demolitions Control Bill, 2020, proposes that demolitions of unauthorised structures should be carried out during working hours between Monday and Friday.

 

- mwaniki fm