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January 24, 2019

Bulldozers leave 5,000 Kibera children homless, out of school

A woman with her children watching as the bulldozer destroys properties at the Kibera slums on 24th July, 2018./victor imboto
A woman with her children watching as the bulldozer destroys properties at the Kibera slums on 24th July, 2018./victor imboto

At least 5,000 schoolchildren have been left stranded following demolitions in Kibera to pave way for a road.

Eight schools, a children’s home and thousands of shack houses were pulled down by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority bulldozers.

More than 2,000 families have been left homeless. An estimated 30,000 people have been affected by the demolitions, condemned by rights groups as inhumane.

The demolitions came just a week before the start of end-term examinations. Makina Squatters Primary, built in 1986, had 800 pupils. It was brought down yesterday.

Its founder Timothy Mulehi said he was shocked by the demolition, adding the institution had helped thousands of slum children.

“I don’t know what to do because I don’t have any other place to take these children. I have helped the government for all those years by taking children from the streets but they can’t see that, “ Mulehi said.

“I have tried everything. We visited all offices including Kura and the National Land Commission to save this school just for the sake of these poor children, but they did not listen.”

Mulehi said the original map showing where the road would pass was changed by powerful individuals to protect their own structures.

Makina Self Help Primary School, Adventure Pride Centre, Mashimoni Primary and New Horizon Primary school were all flattened.

Others are Saviour Kings Academy, Elite Secondary School and Makina Baptist Primary School.

Jackline Auma, who had a Class 7 daughter at Makina Squatters Primary, said the girl has been home since last Monday when the school was closed following the demolition notice issued on June 3.

Yesterday, the residents were still scavenging through the rubble to salvage whatever they could. The demolitions started on Monday and ended yesterday.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights had asked Kura to stop the demolitions.

“We are also demanding that the government urgently offers adequate humanitarian support and respond s to the immediate needs of the affected people, including shelter, food and clothing,” chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori said.

Makina, Lindi and Kisumu Ndogo villages were affected. Kura is constructing the Sh2 billion Langata Road-Ngong Road link road as part of its efforts to reduce traffic congestion in the city.

Yesterday, the ODM party condemned the demolitions and gave the roads agency seven days to compensate the residents.

Secretary general Edwin Sifuna and Nairobi woman representative Esther Passaris visited the area and condemned Kura for carrying out the demolitions in disregard of a compensation agreement the authority struck with the residents, NLC and KNCHR.

The area flattened represents the 600 metres needed to finish the road.

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