The Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) has faced a setback in its ambitious programme to transform a section of city estates with modern high rise residential apartments.
This is after residents of Lumumba Estate, of the areas earmarked for the project in Nairobi's Eastlands, turned down a proposal by NMS to upgrade their houses.
The service, led by General Mohamed Badi, had arranged for a public participation meeting to discuss its proposal to upgrade the buildings in Lumumba Estate. The meeting turned chaotic after Estate Officer Veronica Maina decided to change the venue for the meeting.
Residents agreed to vacate to the new venue but were later redirected to move back to the original venue. They got furious and decided to gather outside the area chief's office, where led by Harambee Ward MCA Antony Kimemia announced they had rejected the proposed plan.
Kimemia pointed out that the houses there were already affordable and that NMS should build elsewhere.
"These houses are already affordable. Tenants have been paying Ksh 3,000 worth of rent, inclusive of water and electricity, "said Kimemia.
" Let NMS build houses elsewhere. The government has a lot of idle land where Kenyan great leaders in the public and private sector, trade union movement lived here before rising to fame," he added.
For NMS to upgrade the houses, it only requires to paint them afresh, fix the sewer system and connect water and electricity, according to Kimemia. The MCA strongly proposed the idea of having the estate retained as a museum just like Kaloleni estate.
“Even the soldiers he plans to unleash on residents are from Eastlands. They were born and bred in the populous Eastlands estate, and not in the leafy suburbs of billionaires targeting the prime estates land. It is here that elite political leaders shot to prominence,” remarked Kimemia.
The tenants at Lumumba Estate were told that they would be shifted to new one and two-bedroom houses that would cost between one and three million shillings. The assertion that such houses would be more affordable than the ones the residents are living in raised eyebrows with the residents.
Instead of putting up such houses, the residents suggested the government enter into partnership with stakeholders like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund(IMF) to put up more affordable welfare houses.
The NMS Director, Mohammed Badi last month announced 10 estates where building of improved houses would be done. The listed are; Lumumba,Jericho, Bahati,Maringo, Bondeni, Ziwani,Embakasi, Kariobangi North, Woodley and California estates.
This plan is set to be executed in phases to prevent residents from being evicted.