Our Ref: Your Ref:
17 January 2022
The Cabinet Secretary
Ministry of Interior and Coordination of the National Government
P.O Box 30510–00100
The Cabinet Secretary,
Ministry of Land and Physical Planning
Nairobi Metropolitan Services
RE: Mukuru Forced Evictions and Resettlement
We, the forcibly evicted residents of Mukuru Kwa Njenga, write to you to raise the following matters of concern amid our public servants’ glaring omission in addressing our plight.
Reference is made to the press release by the Office of the President, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of the National Government on 14 January 2022, advising that those Mukuru Kwa Njenga residents who owned demolished structures shall be allowed to reconstruct. The following urgent questions remain:
i. Who are the structure owners? Who has the register, asset inventories and maps of the structures?
ii. When was this information verified by the community of the affected persons?
iii. How many plots is the government enumerating in the settlement?
iv. Who are the owners of the 703 plots in the settlement?
It has been consistently reported in the media that the government has made a decision to resettle the affected families. Meanwhile, the Cabinet Secretaries for the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning and the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government did meet persons who were purported to be land owners. We raise the following questions.
i. What is the composition of the Resettlement Committee? How was it formed? To what extent does it reflect the objectives and aspirations of the Land Act on Resettlement? Who is representing the interest of the youth, women, Member of Parliament, County Government, National Land Commission, and other interest groups such as those living with disability, religious communities and CSO’s?
ii. Which data are the resettlement committee relying on to inform resettlement? Have these data been verified by the affected community? It is not lost on us that such situations on resettlement have been used to benefit government and political operatives who have benefited at the expense of the affected communities. The path chosen by the government has amounted to a theater of injustice, seeking to disenfranchise the vulnerable.
iii. The media did report on 14 January that 703 plots are owned by a private firm and that it is still not clear where residents shall be resettled. Therefore, on what basis do we have the resettlement committee? It is absurd to constitute a resettlement committee when, at the very onset of its mandate, it is not clear where the affected families are to be resettled.
iv. We are reliably informed that a resettlement action plan is being developed by the resettlement committee. Do we need a resettlement action plan in the first place? This question is important, since majority of us have been displaced. If, by any chance, data existed before the evictions, have those data been brought back to the community for verification and affirmation? Our fears remain that this process has been infiltrated by those with sustained personal interest in the community land and that they would illegitimately benefit from a process that seeks to legitimize rightful tenure holders and reward illegality.
2. Corrective Measures
It is our desire that government should be more concerned by implementing corrective action plans that shall ensure full reparation to us as victims of forced eviction, a gross violation under international human rights law. Following the demolition and forced eviction committed against us, we do not have health facilities; we are rained on since we live in tents. We do not have sanitation facilities. We sleep hungry, because our sources of livelihoods were destroyed. This should concern any responsible government that supposedly acknowledges that its citizens have been disenfranchised.
If government were not involved in the evictions, why is it taking so long to prosecute the perpetrators who participated in this gross violation? Even if the evictions were carried out under a court order, were the procedures followed for carrying out evictions as espoused in the Land Act of 2016? Why are the Cabinet Secretaries feigning ignorance on this essential issue?
We have lost lives and property. Those in the police service who supervised this gross violation were merely transferred, instead of being prosecuted. Are we children of a lesser God? You will soon start trooping to the settlement to look for votes, but these citizens will not forget this betrayal of the public trust.
3. “The Owners of Land”
We are dismayed that you have been negotiating with the so-called and yet-unidentified “owners of land”. The land question in this country has revolved around illicit titles. The question that you should be busy addressing is as to how the supposed owners of land acquired it. Are you recognizing the outcome of illegality again? The state must be ready to exercise its police power and imminent domain to protect its vulnerable populations. This is a minimum requirement to realize the social function of land, to which the Government of Kenya publicly committed itself in the New Urban Agenda (paras. 13 and 69). Why are the Ministry of Land and Ministry of the Interior so helpless to challenge the so-called “owners of land” who are brutalizing the vulnerable population?
We, therefore, submit the following demand that your office furnish us with responses to the above questions on the resettlement process, with urgency to details on:
The area mapped out for the resettlement of individuals occupying the said 703 plots.
The composition of the resettlement committee and criteria of nomination of the committee members.
The place of the community representation in the resettlement committee.
Representatives of Mukuru Kwa Njenga Residents
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
Member of Parliament Embakasi South
Amnesty International Kenya
Housing and Land Rights Network – Habitat International Coalition