Ruthless Nairobi Cartel Evicting Residents From Government Houses

  • A file image of city hall
    A file image of city hall
  • A vicious cartel headed by a prison guard has taken hold of Shauri Moyo - violently extorting, coercing, fleecing and conning hapless residents hundreds of thousands of shillings - in an illegal scheme to move from the houses owned by the Nairobi County Government. 

    The five-person gang is the operational arm of the faceless cartel, headed by a towering figure said to be a prison warden.

    He rolls around with two lieutenants including a police officer, and the other, a man referred to as "commissioner", is said to have been until recently, a security guard.

    The two moonlight in effect, as the muscle, actioning violent midnight evictions with reckless abandon.

    A file image of the Nairobi County Government's houses in Shauri Moyo
    A file image of the Nairobi County Government's houses in Shauri Moyo
    Daily Nation

    The gang seeks interested parties looking to rent or purchase the units which are owned and managed by City Hall. Then they'll approach a resident within an ultimatum: either match the new figure or move out.

    The Background 

    Kenya's capital, Nairobi - as with most cities - hosts several slums, which notoriously live up to a dubious reputation.  

    Shauri Moyo is Nairobi’s oldest slum - dating back to the late 1930s. It's perhaps the busiest of Nairobi slums - centrally located on the left side of Jogoo Road, a busy infrastructural artery from the CBD.

    Shauri Moyo is colloquial for “consult your heart" - a dilemma early Africans had to face. They had to make a choice, leave or stay as the British had divided Nairobi into settlement schemes based on racial lines.

    There were first, second and third-class citizens with Europeans taking up one class, Arabs and Asians taking the second class. Africans occupied the lowest class. Shauri Moyo was earmarked for the third-class citizenry.

    Shauri Moyo hosts Kenya’s largest meat joint, Burma, which was started in 1939, during WWII.  It also has the Kamukunji Grounds, a landmark feature in Kenya's political landscape.

    The settlement has five villages: Burma, Juakali l, and ll, Mombasa Ndogo and Kisumu Ndogo. The slum narrative started changing in Mwai Kibaki's tenure, which started an ambitious plan to modernise informal settlements.

    As it was, in 2013, the County Government of Nairobi inherited the project - to undertake an urban renewal and redevelopment project that will see the construction of 100,000 new housing units in existing old public housing estates.

    This redevelopment project rode on the back of a County Comprehensive Urban Renewal Programme (ECURP), which involved replacing old, run-down or under-utilized areas with new developments which are properly planned with adequate transport and other infrastructure and community facilities.

    Shauri Moyo slum's project began in earnest, in 2010 - on a parcel next to Jogoo Road approximately 8 acres large with a development potential of over 4,000 units of various mixes of 1bed, 2bed and 3bed units.

    There's a published system of purchasing the new units in Phase I, and it began in January 2014.

    Well, as it is, the government served notice in March 2014 to vacate the old council houses, to allow demolition so as to pave way for the construction of Phase II units.

    Though the old residents vacated, the old housing units are still standing.

    This is the loophole that the Shauri Moyo cartel attached onto, and made a cash cow out of.

    Initially, the people heading the cartel started renting out the old, vacated units to new people seeking houses. After a while - as the government didn't bat an eyelid - the cartel graduated to selling the old houses.

    In 2015, to buy a house council house at Shauri Moyo would cost you Ksh10,000.00, and several units were sold.

    As the demand rose, that price has steadily risen to a range of between Ksh40,000 to Ksh50,000.

    The problem arises in that the cartel has employed violent means to extort, coerce and manipulate the initial buyers to fork out more money for the old council units.

    If an occupant ignores the demands, the cartel descends on them at midnight and carries out a forceful eviction. Much like wayward landlords.

    The gang, headed by the prison guard operates in plain sight, just a spitting distance from Makongeni Police Station. They are mostly based at the roundabout that branches off to Eastleigh, near the Heshima Primary School gate. 

    All reports made by victims to Makongeni Police Station keep gathering dust.

    Garbage dumped on Kamukunji Road in Shauri Moyo.
    Garbage dumped on Kamukunji Road in Shauri Moyo.
    Ayum Teddy