Night demolitions pulls down iconic mama Uhuru house in Nairobi


The iconic mama Uhuru house located along Kangundo Road at the Kangundo Road market has been demolished.

The two floors flat belonged to one of the Kenyan freedom fighters, the late Mwanaisha Tablelei Bilali’s kins. She was popularly known as Mama Uhuru before her demise on September 9, 2009 at the age of 114 years.

Her grandchildren said the property that had 136 units, single rooms was demolished at 2.00am Wednesday. They claimed the demolition was effected by Nairobi City Government.

“People from the county government came with bulldozers at night and demolished our property without any eviction order. They only told us to remove our children from the building before effecting the night evictions,” Mwanaisha Chebet Bilali, one of the late Tablelei’s grandchildren told the Star at the scene on Wednesday.

The structure had been pulled down when the Star visited the scene early Wednesday.

Youths were busy scavenging for steel and ironsheets from the demolished structure for sale as scrap metal with victims accusing them of stealing their valuables.

The victims accused the alleged county government staffers of assaulting them during the forcible evictions.

“I have a child who is joining form one. I told them to allow me take his calling letter from the house but they refused. They instead assaulted him alongside my husband,” Chebet said.

They said the land on which they had erected the structure was issued to them by the retired President Uhuru Kenyatta during the late Mwai Kibaki’s reign in 2002. They constructed the house and settled in it in 2005.

Chebet said their late grandmother has 102 great grandchildren, some of who lived in the demolished structures and are now homeless.

She wondered why the evictions were done during President William Ruto’s reign and at night stating that they only salvaged a few items from the rambles.

“We have had challenges here. The parcel of land was given to our grandmother by retired President Uhuru Kenyatta as a reward for her involvement in freedom fighting,” Chebet said.

Chebet said they had before being allocated the said plots been evicted from a house at Pumwani flats by the late Kibaki’s regime.

Kangundo Road market was constructed during former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s reign. It found the house already erected on the parcel.

“We were evicted from Pumwani flats and reallocated this parcel where we have settled since 2005. We have been living here with threats despite holding proper ownership documents,” Chebet said.

The victims said there was no eviction order to that effect. They claimed to have been paying land rates to the Nairobi City County administration for decades now.

Mariamu Bilali said they were stranded and didn’t know where to go with their children after being rendered homeless.

Bilali said she had taken some bank loan of Sh2 million that they used to extend and renovate the structure which she was still servicing.

“We work with the same people who have demolished our property. They were over 100 people including the county government’s staffers,” Bilali said.

“This is my fourth month servicing the loan. I tried to reach out to the county officials before and during the demolitions in vain,” Bilali0 said.

She said police had denied involvement in the forcible evictions.

Bilali said none of those who effected the demolitions wanted to see a court order in their possession.

“I know all those involved in the demolitions,” Bilali said.