Posted  Sunday, September 25  2011 at  22:21

The government could resort to forceful evictions to improve living conditions in slums, Housing minister Soita Shitanda has said.

Mr Shitanda said the government will not let efforts to construct better houses in slums get “undermined by non-governmental organisations and the rich who are out to benefit from the plight of the poor”.

“We cannot develop our slums without moving people, as we have to construct schools and roads, to avert crisis similar to the one that occurred in Sinai,” the minister said.

He said the second phase of the slum upgrade project in Kibera had stopped due to incitements from politicians.

The project included construction of 1,200 houses and 400 market stalls. (READ: Councils to get Sh24bn to upgrade slum areas)

Mr Shitanda said 600 housing units have been completed and tenants were paying Sh1, 000 per month.

Informal settlements

He claimed landlords in the informal settlements were not living there but were only interested in making money.

Speaking in Eldoret town, during the official opening of Eldoret Homes and Real Estate Expo, Mr Shitanda stated that his ministry had asked Treasury to give incentives for development of low income houses.

He called on the private sector to support efforts to improve the livelihood of slum dwellers.

The minister said only 16 per cent of Kenyans live in their own houses and that there was a serious housing shortage in urban areas.

Separately, more than 5,000 people living in a slum in Kibarani, Mombasa have asked the government to resettle them since they live under high voltage power lines.

The families, citing the recent fire tragedy in Nairobi’s Sinai slum, said it was crucial that they be resettled to avert a similar disaster.

“After the government announced that those living near the pipeline and high voltage power lines to vacate the land, we agreed to leave the area on condition that we are given alternative land,” said Mr Dalmas Were, a resident.

Mr Josphat Musiya, another resident, said Kenya Power officials had unsuccessfully tried to evict them, since they were not offered alternative land.

Mr Musiya added that the railway line passes in the village, which is also dangerous to them.