Oct 25, 2011 (Nairobi Star/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) — Residents of the sprawling Kyangombe slums in Embakasi were yesterday left counting their losses after their houses were demolished by the Kenya Airports Authority. Following the Sinai fire tragedy, KAA had issued a seven day notice to the residents of Kyangombe, Syokimau near Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, and Mitumba village at the Wilson Airport. But the residents had dismissed the notice saying it wasn’t genuine and would not move until they are given an alternative site.
However, on Saturday night truckloads of anti-riot police officers were sent to the slum to ensure that all security measures were in place before KAA moved in with bulldozers and started demolishing the houses. Residents said there was a black out in the slum and they tried to repulse the police, but were overwhelmed by their numbers. “They gave a notice to vacate. But where did they want us to go? I had nowhere to go to and furthermore life has just become too expensive,” said Saveria Wangoi, a mother of three.
Wangoi was unable to salvage any of her household goods as some were destroyed by the bulldozers and others stolen. “I don’t know where to go now. They have just taken me back and now I am the poorest. Is this government really out to help the poor?” she posed. Other residents blamed the government for evicting them claiming that a prominent businessman who wants to construct a godown is behind the demolition.
As the residents continued to count their loses, scrap metal dealers were having a good day as they bought iron sheets and other metals at throw away prices. But it is not only the residents who were counting losses. Developers and owners who had bought plots in the area will also have to contend with the fact that they will lose their investments.
The demolition forced some of the residents to spend the night by the road side. The residents who were camping by Mombasa road with their house hold goods caused a major traffic snarl up. Women were seen carrying household goods on their heads with babies strapped to their backs.