Urban Fold

Can a Long Shot Lawsuit End Nairobi's Forced Evictions

Forty residents of Nairobi's Mukuru slum have petitioned "some of Kenya's most powerful individuals, companies and banks, demanding rights to the land they live on and an end to forced evictions." They've already succeeded in halting some evictions.

Daniel Howden examines the potentially precedent-setting case brought by a group of slum-dwellers. "The implications of the case are enormous in a city where 67 per cent of the population lives on less than 2 per cent of the land," writes Howden. "The petition is being seen as a test for Kenya's much-vaunted new constitution that passed a referendum last year and is supposed to guarantee peoples' rights to adequate housing and secure tenure."

"Jane Weru, the director of the Union of Slum-Dwellers, says the land crisis is a 'time-bomb' that could destroy Nairobi in the near future. 'This is a national crisis that can cause a civil war,' she warns. The looming court battle is so important, she says, because 'in this case you have a direct link between high level corruption and its impact on the poorest people in the city.'"

Thanks to Daniel Lippman

Full Story: Kenya's slum dwellers versus the elite

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