COVID-19 AND THE DEMOLITIONS AT RUAI AND KARIOBANGI
The conduct of the state during the COVID-19 Pandemic shows the level of consideration the government has for its citizens. While people are fighting challenges such as hunger, insecurity and unaffordable lifestyles, residents in Kariobangi and Ruai in Kenya woke up to new challenges that now threaten the livelihood of residents; including women and children.
With the on going Pandemic, a new challenge hitting a majority citizens is the ongoing demolitions that are happening during night time because of alleged illegal construction on disputed pieces of land. All demolitions have happened during the night.
Currently, the affected areas are Ruai and Kariobangi. The demolished houses in Ruai are alleged to be on a 3000 acre piece of land that is meant for the expansion of the Dandora Sewerage Treatment Plant. At least 200 families have been left homeless. Demolitions in Kariobangi left around 5000 families homeless. Majority of those left homeless say they received no prior notice before the evictions.
While the state may justify the need for the demolitions, the action is wrong because prior ruling from the courts had instructed all parties to maintain status quo until the final determination of the case. The respondents ignoring the court ruling and carrying out the demolitions are in contempt. Upholding of the law in Kenya by the state has always been an issue of concern because most of rulings given to the state by the courts are rarely adhered to- these demolitions being a practical example.
Constitutionally, the government has a responsibility to its citizens to provide for them during these trying times but unfortunately this is not the case. Those approving demolitions of residents during this period should have a strategy that provides for the well being of the people. The risks of demolitions exposes children to cold, exposes individuals to potential COVID-19 infected persons and risks losing lives due to many unavoidable factors.
With restricted movement directives issued by the government, it is impossible for the residents left homeless to opt to go back home. Instead they are stranded in a critical state that exposes them to COVID-19, hunger and insecurity. The actions of departments of the state show the lack of proper planning between the different departments in the government to cater for demolitions and at the same time execute safe evacuations of residents to temporary safe sites. It also shows the level of disrespect of the state for the law and the courts at large.
Join our tweet chat today at 13:00 hours as we discuss the state of the evicted citizens and find a way forward.