One killed, several injured in Mukuru demolitions

A dilapidated road in Mukuru kwa Reuben slums in Nairobi. Officials say structures on road reserves were pulled down to pave way for construction of a new road. 

Photo credit: Sammy Kimatu | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Authorities identified the victim as Gabriel Maina.
  • At least 13 people were injured in the incident.

One was killed and several others were injured during demolitions in Mukuru slums in Nairobi on Monday.

The tragedy happened as officials played blame games who was responsible for the demolitions that left more than 500 families homeless.

Authorities identified the victim as Gabriel Maina. At least 13 people were injured in the incident.

The affected residents said the demolitions were being carried out by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) to pave way for expansion of roads in the informal settlements.

They claimed that they were only given a one day notice to vacate their houses by NMS before bulldozers descended on their structures.

Mukuru kwa Reuben ward rep Evans Otiso said a building collapsed as people were trying to salvage their belonging killing a man on the spot.

He said four of the injured have been admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital while the body of the victim was taken to City Mortuary.

The MCA said that the residents were in a rush to protect their belongings after receiving information that the bulldozers were on their way.

“We support construct of roads in the city by NMS but this is a disaster because a life has been lost. More time should have been given,” said Mr Otiso.

NMSdDirector of communications Tony Mbarine distanced the new office from the demolitions saying the death was as a result of an accident and not forceful evictions.

Mr Mbarine explained that the community and non-governmental organisations had agreed on plans to clear the area after being declared a special planning zone and NMS has never evicted anyone by force.

“Since Mukuru was declared a special planning area, the community and NGOs had agreed on which areas to clear and which not. The man was bringing down his own structure when he had the accident. NMS was not involved and we have not had any forceful evictions in Mukuru,” said Mr Mbarire adding that they have, however, been informed of the incident and they are trying to see how to help.

Governor Mike Sonko expressed his disappointment in the inhumane manner in which the demolition was carried out.

The governor, through his spokesperson Ben Mulwa, said the rampant demolitions across the county are a concern affecting thousands of families. He called for the protection of the rights of every citizen by ensuring adequate notices are provided and alternative arrangements made to settle the affected families before demolitions.

“We support the ongoing efforts to transform Nairobi, but everything must be done within the law. It’s unfortunate that one person namely lost his life in the ongoing demolitions,” said Mr Mulwa.

“This is because those that are responsible for the demolitions are marking the properties to be brought down today and show up tomorrow at dawn without giving these residents sufficient notice,” he added. 

Mukuru slums was officially declared as a Special Planning Area by Nairobi County government in 2017 putting to a stop any further development in the 650 acres area for a two-year period. The period was extended for another year by NMS last month to allow for upgrading of the slum as per the directives of President Uhuru Kenyatta in March.