Residents of Mashinomi, Lindi, Kisumu Ndogo and Kambi Muru villages in Kibera slum in Nairobi woke up to demolition of their houses by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) on the 23rd of July 2018, to pave way for the construction of a dual carriage link road.
The early morning demolitions by KURA were conducted under a heavy contingent of the Administration Police, causing destruction of property that left thousands of residents homeless and depriving them of access to social amenities like schools, hospitals and also access to water.
The victims recounted on film, how the government officials took down their personal details on Friday and did not disclose when the actual eviction would take place. The bulldozers then began destroying the structures on Monday morning.
A huge number of residents have been left out in the cold, with some seeking shelter within the same slum. Amnesty International estimates that at least 30,000 people were affected by the demolitions, although KURA issued a statement indicating that only 2,000 people were affected.
KURA acted in total disregard of the International law which guarantees a right to adequate housing to all.
The UN Handbook on Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-based Evictions and Displacement, outlines that prior to an eviction, all the potentially affected persons should get appropriate notice that an eviction is being considered in their area. In addition, authorities should provide relevant information to the affected persons including a proposed comprehensive resettlement plan specifically addressing efforts to protect the vulnerable groups while allowing a reasonable time period for public review of the proposed plans. Holding of public hearings that provide affected persons and their advocates with opportunities to challenge the eviction decision should also be allowed at this stage.
During evictions, the handbook notes that the dignity and human rights to life and security of those affected should not be violated. Further, steps should be taken to ensure that women are not subject to the gender-based violence and human rights of children have been are protected.
As the State pushes for the Big Four agenda on development, it is paramount and necessary to have national legislation that specifically deals with forced evictions and displacement due to development, to ensure that Kenya's human rights record does not worsen.
Story by IFA Nairobi Team
Killing and going Scot-free on the Kenyan Coast
There have been numerous reports of brutal indiscriminate police killings in Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi Counties on the Kenyan coast.
On the 28th June 2018 the IFA Mombasa Team received a call from a contact in Karimani Village in Kilifi County, IFA had earlier conducted a film screening in the village. The individual told the the team that a family from the village had been trying to find their missing son since the 25th June 2018.
The Mariakani police told the family to visit the Coast Provincial General Hospital mortuary in Mombasa County, where they identified the body of their missing son.
Katana Kazungu Fondo, who was a Standard Seven pupil at Ndatani Primary School, died when police allegedly shot at a crowd that was pushing a vehicle stuck in the mud after a heavy downpour.
The IFA Mombasa team caught up with the family along the Jomvu road on their way back home to Kilifi County. Amidst the grieving and confusion, the family was advised to seek justice by reporting the issue to the relevant human rights institutions. The family agreed to return to Mombasa that evening to meet with HAKI Africa and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).
The parents, Kazungu Fondo and his wife Ndoko Kazungu, accompanied by their relatives and the village elder Mzee Tanga went to the HAKI Africa and IPOA offices to record their statements.
IFA filmed the eyewitness and victim testimonies of the Katana Kazungu killing.
The IFA team were witness to the post-mortem exercise that confirmed that Katana’s death was caused by a close range bullet that penetrated his upper back-right side through his lungs and heart.
Following protests by the residents, two Kilifi police officers who were suspected to have killed the pupil have been suspended. However, the family continues to wait for justice.
The Constitution of Kenya demands that police officers embrace professionalism, be accountable and respect the right to life, other human rights and fundamental freedoms at all times.
Story by IFA Mombasa Team
An IFA Success Story: Recognizing the Colonial Villages in Central Kenya
The Colonial villages that spread across the central region of Kenya are informal settlements created by the British colonialists in 1954. The settlements kept the natives in restricted areas and prevented them from joining their kinsmen who were in the forests fighting for freedom.
In 1968 through land demarcation, the colonial village residents were to be returned to their former lands by the first African government. However, this process was riddled with favouritism, bribery and victimization. This resulted in a huge number losing their former lands to those with money and power.
The subsequent governments and leaders made no effort to resettle the residents. This generated discrimination in access to and ownership of land, infrastructure and social amenities. A group of people remained without land ownership documents and were squatting in contentious areas of land, under the rule of the county council. This in effect robbed the colonial villages residents of all their land related rights (social economic rights).
For over 50 years the residents have been trying to advocate for ownership documents or resettlement, with no success. Over the years subsequent governments introduced resettlement schemes for the landless, and each time only a handful were re-settled. An example is in the case of Solio ranch in Laikipia which saw an unprecedented level of land grabbing by the political class.
IFA Nyeri Team have been systematically targeting the colonial villages for film screenings and post screening debates. This has resulted in residents feeling inspired to take action.
In 2016, the colonial village residents formed a Community Action Team (CAT) and, with the help of IFA, wrote a petition and presented it to the County government of Nyeri.
The county government of Nyeri recognized the colonial village CAT and co-opted three members into the planning and surveying committee.
In the 2017/18 budget allocation, there was a focus physical planning and surveying, and the surveyed colonial villages were listed for the issuance of title deeds. In June 2017, the government issued Title Deeds to some of the residents of the colonial villages.
However, this was not the case for all the residents and many were not issued with Title Deeds resulting in land conflicts. The landowners who border the colonial villages felt the land should have been returned to them as they claimed to have contributed a section of their original land to create the colonial village.
Conflict also exists between the colonial village residents and the churches in the area. The churches were allocated large portions of land and still continue to grab more land, through the illegal allocations allowed by the Chiefs.
Finally, there is no community goodwill to resettle the residents as they provide cheap labour to the landowners.
The issuance of title deeds to the colonial village residents for the small plots is not the lasting solution since they still do not have a decent livelihood. Resettlement to a larger portion of land would be a better solution.
Story by IFA Nyeri Team