The news on this is reported mostly stereotypical – and they miss the point that state organs rarely follow the correct legal procedure.
“Illegal structures” on public land are common in Kenya – e.g. people have often erected their informal settlements on such land, or some who are struggling for income have set up such structures/ businesses on road reserves. In the news we see frequent violent demolishment of illegally erected homes, food stalls, shops for pay phones or kitchen needs, kiosks and even hospitals or schools.
These are the stereotypes: Usually the media just state that the buildings, shacks or business containers have been illegally built, and that the state has given notice in time. Of course, the other side is also included in the report: The affected residents and business owners who complain. The reports conclude with a public official affirming that everything was dealt with correctly, stressing again that the owners were notified in time and that their buildings were illegally erected. End of story. Many of these ever-same reports can still be found on the web.
But in a vast number of cases the rights of the owners and renters of the demolished structures were violated. Journalists can even judge it by themselves – just by reading the law. It says that notification is not enough, even if it has been done in time and in the right way. The proper procedure should respect the rights of the affected citizens as much as possible. It’s about rights like the right to property, to dignity, housing – and to a proper compensation.
We at RoGGKenya have read the law for you and summarized what the correct legal procedure is that must be followed. Just read our new page and you might be surprised about how much we in the media miss the point.
Evictions and Demolitions on Public land, the legal Procedure
Photo: Shortly before the visit of US-President Obama, Nairobi City in July 2015 demolished these shops along Limuru Road where Obama was expected to pass by with a car convoy. (Photo: Ulli Schauen)