Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chaos as residents in Nakuru oppose evictions

Written By:KBC , Posted: Tue, Aug 10, 2010

One person was shot on the hand when anti-riot police officers fired in the air to disperse demonstrating tenants at Nakuru's Flamingo estate who were protesting evictions from their council houses over non-payment of Ksh 175 million in rent arrears.

Two municipal council askaris who were part of the eviction squad escaped death narrowly after the angry tenants stoned the lorry they were using for the exercise and roughed them up before they were rescued by the anti-riot police officers who were called to quell the fracas after the askaris were overpowered by the tenants.

Kimathi and Flamingo estates which were the most affected by the evictions became no-go zones Tuesday morning after the rowdy tenants barricaded the Nakuru-Langalanga-Lake Nakuru Park roads with burning tyres to express their anger before engaging the police in running battles for hours.

The protests spiralled over to Nakuru town's Kanu street with a few youths harassing motorists and matatus plying the routes.

The tenants were protesting the decision by the Nakuru Municipal Council to evict them from their houses claiming that there has been an ownership dispute in the affected estates between the council and the National Housing Corporation which made most of the tenants fail to pay rent.

They also accused the town clerk of harassing them and of being inaccessible and mismanaging the council affairs by irregularly increasing rents without consulting them.

The municipal clerk Sheikh Abdullahi however defended the council's action saying only those who had not paid the arrears were being evicted contrary to claims that all the tenants were being forced out.

He said the tenants had been given a three-month notice to settle the five year rent arrears amounting to Ksh 175 million during a stakeholders meeting on April 30 this year after the ownership dispute between them and National Housing Corporation was resolved after the council surrendered Kabachia and Ngei estates to the corporation.

Abdullahi remained adamant that those who have not cleared their rent arrears would be evicted as the council followed the right procedures through issuing a public notice in the press.

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