March, 9th 2021 – Human Rights Groups in Mombasa County have threatened to sue the government following the eviction of residents in Buxton.
They say that the government did not use the required procedure to evict the residents and termed the action as illegal.
Over 500 families were evicted to pave way for the construction of modern housing. They say that there was no compensation nor a relocation plan.
The county government says that over 1900 units will be constructed in the area at a cost of sh6 billion.
Convener of non-governmental organizations, John Paul Obonyoof the Haki Yetu Human Rights Group says the court had directed in 2016 that all evictions should be done in line with the law.
According to the Environment and Land Court, issues raised by the residents challenging implementation of the project at the estate had been determined by another court in a petition which involved all 10 county estates.
Justice Sila Munyao ruled that Buxton estate was part of the 10 estates in the previous petition where the court made a determination on various issues among them the right to housing.
He said, “You cannot remove one estate; in the previous petition, Buxton was one of the estates. The court will not have jurisdiction to re-open the issues.”
He further ruled that he had not found any violation of the residents rights on their removal from the houses. He said, “I have accessed the manner in which the tenants in Buxton are expected to vacate and found it does not in any way violate their rights.”
He further noted that the tenants had been given 90 days to vacate and later on receive ex-gratia payment, which was not in the tenancy agreement.
LOSS OF HOUSES
Earlier, the residents had claimed that if the project was to take place, they would lose their houses.
Justice Munyao however said that the county had given the applicants enough time to vacate and even volunteered to compensate them.
The tenants now pay Sh2,800 for a one bedroom house and Sh3,662 for a three bedroom unit. 150 units occupied by county staff while 352 are rented out to the public.
Justice Munyao said, “I have not seen anywhere in the contract that when the landlord requires their houses back, they have to compensate the tenants. But the county has gone out of its way to make ex-gracia payment.”