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Security heightened as demolitions continue in Mavoko

More security personnel have been deployed to supervise the ongoing demolitions of houses, schools and churches that were erected on the controversial East African Portland Cement land in Mavoko, Machakos County.

As it enters the fourth day, security has had to be increased because most of the affected families are devastated and are worried because thugs are coming up in large numbers to steal properties and anything that has been salvaged after the demolitions.

The residents said the thugs are not familiar to them and could be coming all the way from Syokimau, Mlolongo and even Nairobi to steal from them during the day when demolitions are ongoing and at night when they are seeking shelter elsewhere.

Mr. Caleb Kiminza, one of the affected residents whose house and business have been demolished, said that he used all his savings to build his residential and rental houses and has had to take his family to a friend’s house for the time being.

Kiminza said they have had to ship their belongings to friends’ houses using lorries whose owners have already doubled up the prices from Sh10,000 to Sh25,000 because of the high demand.

He added that they are trying to salvage the little that has remained such as the stones, iron sheets and furniture and water tanks so that they can start afresh from somewhere else.

Kimanzi noted that they bought the place in 2016 and they had been assured of a title deed and that the Portland cement case was not strong enough to win the court case.

“We are spending much more during these shifts than when we were during construction, as it is, we are carrying stuff from the ruins to a safe place so that we can save some money,” said Kimanzi.

He decried that while his finances are dwindling, his children’s education has been halted and they cannot go to school because the school has also been demolished and asked the Government agencies to intervene and help them get refunded at least to help them stand on their feet again.

Bishop Shadrack Musau of Mountain View Baptist Church on his part was in pain as he watched his church and school being demolished. He said he bought the piece of land in 2016 and they had a congregation of over 300 people while the school had 150 children.

Amid tears, the Bishop said his congregants and students have all been scattered and are looking for shelter and food because their houses which were next to the church have all been demolished.

“All my congregants have been displaced and have nowhere to go after their houses were demolished, we tried hosting them in the ruined school but it was not enough because they needed beddings, food and medicine for the children,” said the Bishop.

Musau added that his people, some who are casual laborers, have already been fired from their work places because they have not been to work since Friday and still cannot go to work and are trying to find shelter for their families while protecting the rubble that have been left of their houses after the demolitions.

He said there are thugs who are roaming around and robbing them of their properties that have been salvaged after demolition. This, he said, has forced most of them to stay around to safeguard their properties from the thugs.

The man of God lamented that the children were to do their exams this week and parents had already paid full fees and they are in tears because no school will accept them now without paying some money.

He asked the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations to intervene and provide them with beddings and food as they wait to find a solution since most of the people are waiting for the end month to receive their salary and find proper shelter.

This comes days after East African Portland Cement won a legal dispute to evict squatters from over 4,274 acres of land in Mavoko of Machakos County after the respondents were unable to produce documents to prove ownership.

By Anne Kangero 

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