20 August 2018

Kenya: Sonko's Plan to Upgrade Pangani Estate Runs Into Trouble

Tenants in Nairobi's Pangani Estate seek to stop a planned regeneration project claiming it is illegal because of lack of public participation in the planning process.

Through their lawyer, Mr Edward Ndichu, the tenants claim they were not sufficiently consulted as key stakeholders yet some of them have lived in the estate for decades.

This comes after Nairobi County government announced it will embark on a regeneration of seven county estates with the Pangani project set to be the first.

A contract has already been awarded to a firm, Technofin, with works set to begin next month.

ABORTED MEETING

Mr Ndichu said the last meeting attended by various officials including county secretary Peter Kariuki and Housing minister Charles Kerich on August 5 this year aborted after an altercation.

"It aborted because Kariuki came with a set mind and did not want to listen to the tenants. He stormed out of the meeting with his team. He came to tell us to hand over the site to the developer yet we had not agreed in principle," said Mr Ndichu on Sunday, accusing the county of being hell bent on bringing down 48 houses.

Mr Ndichu said that the project has gone through many changes starting from the last regime to the current one.

He claimed that in the last regime when the Housing docket was led by Tom Odongo, the plan was dubbed 'no relocation, no eviction' and has since changed to 'relocation and eviction'.

FACILITATION FEE

They were also to be given a facilitation fee of Sh780, 000 per household for the two years that the project was to be under construction to enable the tenants of the estate just behind Pangani Police Station look for alternative houses.

"All along, the tenants have not been against the project but they would want to be involved as stakeholders. We can term it an illegality because what we are being offered right now is not the same as what we were being offered back then. It has changed," said the lawyer.

The lawyer wants the project halted, citing variations in the initial tender which is now more than 50 percent of the 7.8 million per house agreed in talks held before the elections.

Mr Ndichu says after the elections, the officer has been varied downwards twice to Sh6 million per house and then to Sh3 million per house.

"In our August 5, 2018 meeting, the offer came down to Sh3 million and variations of tenders cannot be more than 15 percent but this one has morphed to more than 50 percent," he said.

Mr Ndichu said tenants have not been informed of the changes that have been made in the planned project.

PURCHASE SCHEME

He said no tenant purchase agreement has been struck and initially they were to pay Sh10, 000 per month, the same they are paying for the two-bedroom houses but now they are in the dark over how much they should pay.

Mr Ndichu said the initial plan was for the developer to build 1,500 units but the number has since been revised with the information withheld.

"Now people are very afraid. When they walked out, they told us that we will now be chased out of the tenant purchase scheme," he said.

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