• Acting city manager Abala Wanga said the demolition will pave way for construction of the speaker’s official residence.
• The property will be handed over to assembly Speaker Elisha Oraro on Monday.
The Kisumu government has demolished the house for which board chairman of the National Water Harvesting and Storage Authority, Erick Okeyo, owed the county Sh5.4 million in rent arrears.
The Kisumu government has demolished the house for which board chairman Erick Okeyo owed the county Sh5.4 million in rent arrears.
Acting city manager Abala Wanga said demolition will pave way for the construction of the assembly speaker’s official residence.
The house, next to Kisumu's State Lodge, was brought down on Friday under tight security by city askaris.
Okeyo, who chairs the National Water Harvesting and Storage Authority, had removed his belongings before the bulldozers descended on the house.
The city, Wanga said, will hand over the space to assembly Speaker Elisha Oraro on Monday. The construction will start immediately, he said.
“The assembly leadership had requested that they be given the space. That’s why we have flattened the house to enable them to build the residence for the speaker,” Wanga said.
The contractor is to visit the site soon, he added. The city manager also hinted that a new county assembly building will be constructed in Milimani Estate, where the governor’s house was to be renovated.
Wanga, however, said that they are pursuing Okeyo for the cost of the lawsuit and rent arrears. Last week, Okeyo denied claims he owes the Kisumu government Sh5.4 million in rent.
Okeyo on Tuesday said he had been given notice of eviction by Wanga over the accrued rent but dismissed claims the house was in deplorable condition.
The county wanted him to vacate so the house could be renovated. Okeyo also disputed the arrears, saying he used Sh6.5 million to renovate the house in Milimani estate.
He has accrued rent arrears of Sh5.4 million, according to the notice of eviction dated October 8. The notice was signed by Wanga.
“Our records indicate you have not been making payments regularly since you occupied the premises,” the letter reads.
“This contravenes Clause 2 (a), and 5 (a) of the tenancy agreement and hence liable for eviction and to institute legal action against you to recover the full amount. This letter serves as firm notice to vacate the above-mentioned premises not later than Monday, October 12."
Wanga said failure to comply will lead to forced eviction and "any damages incurred at your expense without any further reference to you”.
Okeyo termed the notice malicious and ill-intended.
He claimed that he has lived in the house since 2005.“I got approval from the the city engineer to conduct Sh6.5 million renovations which were later to be deducted from his rent,” he said.
The chairman said he had sought to meet Governor Anyang' Nyong’o for an amicable solution. He had urged Wanga to personally go and inspect the house. The county gave out notices to tenants who have accrued rent to vacate.
Wanga said some of the houses are in deplorable condition and have been earmarked for renovation. Wanga said the county is committed to repossessing all its houses for renovation.
He also issued notice to city staff to vacate the houses by November 30.
“The houses are earmarked for renovations ahead of the 2021 Africities Summit in Kisumu. Some of the houses will be used as offices and guest houses for delegates,” Wanga said.
He confirmed that six notices of eviction have been issued to those with rent arrears. “We want to modernise these houses to benefit the city and residents at large," he said.
(Edited by V. Graham)