Chokaa demolitions were legal – Chirchir

The CS said affected residents will not be compensated.

In Summary
  • The committee adjourned sittings after the Ministry claimed the matter was active in court.
  • Petitioners told the committee they had withdrawn two suits against Kenya Power.
Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir.
Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir.
Image: FILE

A Senate Committee probing the demolition of houses in Nairobi by Kenya Power in 2019 adjourned prematurely after the Ministry of Energy claimed the matter was pending in court.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir had however told the committee the houses were illegally constructed along power line wayleaves and therefore not eligible for compensation.

Chirchir, who had appeared before the Senate Committee on Lands, Environment and Natural Resources, said residents of Chokaa in Mihang’o area had filed two suits against Kenya Power.

“We confirm that to the best of our knowledge, the mentioned court cases are still pending in court and that they touch on the issues raised in the petition,” Chirchir.

He maintained that the demolition of houses by the Kenya Power was legal adding that it is not possible to resettle people on power line wayleaves as doing so would expose them to danger.

The petitioners however told the committee that they withdrew the two cases before engaging senators.

“We withdrew the cases in court before we sought the intervention of the senate on the matter,” Peter Muriithi said.

Muriithi asked the committee to be given another date to provide evidence that the suits were withdrawn.

“We withdrew the cases but the only thing that we did not do is to serve Kenya Power with the notices,” he stated.

Nyeri Senator Wamatinga Wahome directed that the petitioners provide proof that the court cases have been withdrawn before the committee could continue with deliberations.

“We ask that you give the ministry and the committee the notices of withdrawal. Until then, our hands are tied and we cannot sit illegally,” he stated.

Over 2, 000 residents of Chokaa Estate in Mihang'o Ward, Nairobi have been rendered homeless and left counting losses after Kenya Power demolished buildings allegedly erected on way leaves.

The demolitions affected about 400 families who watched helplessly as bulldozers tore down their houses.

Affected residents petitioned the Senate seeking compensation and resettlement.

They also want Kenya Power fined and the officers involved held accountable.

Chirchir noted that the demolition of structures was carried out in March 2019 covering Kyangombe in Embakasi, Chokaa and Buruburu Famers Land in Njiru, Matopeni and Kayole Junction along Kangundo Road, Mowlem in Dandora and Muiringo in Kasarani.

He said most of the residents removed their buildings and other properties voluntarily away from the power line corridors.

“Contrary to claims in the petition, the demolitions at Chokaa and indeed other areas were carried out along transmission lines wayleaves corridor only,” the CS stated.

The CS appeared before the committee accompanied by senior officials from Kenya Power and the National Lands Commission.

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