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January 17, 2019

Pangani residents must support upgrade project or face eviction, says City Hall

An overpass at Pangani on the Thika Superhighway. /FILE
An overpass at Pangani on the Thika Superhighway. /FILE

Nairobi County Government has urged Pangani residents to co-operate on the urban regeneration project or face termination of their tenancy.

According to the County Executive Member for Lands, Housing and Urban Planning Charles Kerich the residents are coming up with their own terms of the project which are contrary with what the County had on the table.

He explained to the Star on Tuesday that the residents had sued to block the county from increasing rent to Sh10,000 until their houses were renovated.

Through their lawyer Edward Ndichu, the residents had claimed there was no tenant purchase agreement.

"Initially the tenants were told they will be required to pay Sh10, 000 monthly which is the same amount they are paying for the two-bedroom houses. The residents are in the dark not knowing how much they should pay," Ndichu said.

According to Kerich the developer was to pay rent else where for the tenants up to Sh 32,000 each and assured them a house when they return two years later when the project ends.

However, Kerich stated that the residents wanted the developer to instead build the new houses as they continue living in the old houses which is impossible.

"Their demand is impossible as the whole place has to be dug up and they cannot live in a construction site," Kerich said.

The residents maintain that they are not against the project but as key stakeholders they want to be involved.

They insist that the Upgrading Project has undergone through many changes and they have been left out in the planning process.

Kerich maintained that there have been several public participation concerning the project.

" As the County Government we have had a very long engagement with the residents of Pangani including several stakeholder engagements and public participation and we hope they will cooperate for their sake and for the sake of other Nairobi residents who are to benefit from the project," Kerich said.

Further, the residents of Pangani have termed the project as an illegality claiming that what they are currently being offered is not the same as what they were being offered back.

They want the project stopped pointing out the initial tender of sh 7.8 million per house which was agreed upon before the 2017 General elections, is currently more than 50 per cent.

The residents lawyer said that after the 2017 general elections the tender has deviated twice from Sh 7.8 million to Sh 6b million and to Sh 3 million per house.

In a meeting held earlier this month between the residents and the county Government , the offer came to sh 3 million of which according to Ndichu variations of tenders cannot be more than 15 per cent.

"The position they have taken now is unreasonable as they are saying they project will not take off unless it is done their way.Many tenants of county houses live in them for so long they begin to feel like home owners," Kerich said.

He firmly said that the county as the landlord reserves the right to terminate their tenancy by following the law and giving notice.

Kerich further cited that the county may have no choice but to pursue We may have no choice But to pursue this avenue as the regeneration project is important in helping the country achieve the big four agenda.

The County Government is said to commence on the upgrading project of seven county estates next month with Pangani estate said to be the first estate to benefit from the project.

A firm,by the name Technofun has already been awarded the tender.

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