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Mathare residents sue slumlord for forcefully evicting his tenants to build massive tenements (Flats)

Honorable justice Isaac Lenaola will be visiting Mabatini village located deep in the Mathare valley tomorrow (18th July 2014 from 10a.m.) to confirm for himself the extent to which Mr. Samuel Ojowa (A slum land lord) has built his 3 massive tenements. This action by the judge was brought about by the hot case filed back in the year 2010 by the Mabatini residents when Mr. Ojowa started forcing out tenants and evicting his adjacent structure owners for his developments. According to Peter Muiruri (the current Mabatini chairman), the slumlord dexterously hijacked the community’s plans to legally acquire the slum-land they had inhabited for over 45years – since the 1970’s.

The efforts by the community members had been ongoing since the year 2007 when they approached University of Nairobi’s department of urban and regional planning and Pamoja Trust (a slum inhabitants’ rights activists) to rightfully prepare a physical development plan for them and submit it to the then City Council of Nairobi in a bid to acquire the land on adverse possession and convert it to a communal lease. This was after an advice from the City Council that their efforts would lead to such security.     

As the community was pushing forward with the plans to acquire the land, Mr. Ojowa a mabatini resident and part of the initial community group (2005-2009) was busy with his own plans of acquiring land through the chief’s temporary occupational licenses and finally schemingly proposing development plans for a warehouse through the City Council of Nairobi. Through his connections he managed to get a license for warehouse from the City Council and instead started building massive tenements for rental purposes.

The University of Nairobi Planning team assisted the community to prepare an upgrading plan to bring about decent housing and services. The larger Mabatini community hopes to win the case against Mr. Ojowa and get the Nairobi City County to reconsider their proposals so as to safeguard their rights to housing and basic services.  

By James Wanyoike, CURI July 2014

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