The Problem of Urban Squatting in African Countries — with a Special Focus on Nairobi (Kenya) and Harare (Zimbabwe)
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Urban squatter settlements are an increasingly prevalent phenomenon in many parts of the Third World countries as they hold substantial proportions of their populations. For example, it has been estimated that more than one-third of Nairobi residents* 1 and about 40% of Lusaka residents2 are squatters. It is therefore not surprising that the subject of squatting has attracted many researchers. All these researchers have sought, with varying degrees of focus and emphasis, to explain the origin, development and status of squatting and have suggested varying ways of dealing with the problem. This paper will focus on the problem of squatting in African countries using Harare and Nairobi as case studies. The choice of Harare and Nairobi is based firstly, on the fact that in both cities, squatting has existed both in the colonial and post-colonial periods. Secondly, and more important, is the fact that Kenya and Zimbabwe have close similarities in their colonial experiences and the development of settler capitalism whose basic structures have continued to dominate since independence (in Zimbabwe for 13 years and in Kenya for 29 years).