Squatters protest construction of 'expensive' cemetery

Saturday December 30 2017

Police officers clear the busy Nairobi-Nakuru

Police officers clear the busy Nairobi-Nakuru highway blocked by squatters at Soko Mjinga who were protesting construction of a cemetery on December 30, 2017. PHOTO | MACHARIA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MACHARIA MWANGI
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Transport along the busy Nairobi-Naivasha was Saturday morning paralysed for more than two hours after squatters at Soko Mjinga barricaded the road protesting a move to construct a high cost cemetery within the locality.

Frustrated motorists destined for different destinations watched helplessly as the irate squatters protested on the road, with some of them kneeling on the road.

On two occasions, the General Service Unit officers headed for different missions removed boulders blocking the highway, only for the road to be blocked soon after they left the scene.

SQUATTERS

“We will not allow the construction of the proposed Sh 800 million cemetery at the expenses of thousands of squatters currently occupying the vast parcel of land,” said Ms Beatrice Nyaguthii a protestor.

She claimed to have lived in the area for more than 40 years and wondered why the construction is being done now.

Magumu ward representative Hussein Ndung’u said they will oppose the move to construct the cemetery, which the Health Ministry has given a go ahead.

“We are totally opposed to the idea…we shall resist any attempt to build 35,000 graves,” said the MCA.

He, however, managed to convince the protestors to clear the road and pave way for the smooth flow of traffic.

Nyandarua Land chief Executive Lawrence Mukundi claimed that the land was allocated on January 1, 1960 on 99 years leasehold.

OBJECTION

He said the land was meant to be used for a saw mill and manufacture of hard boards, with a provision prohibiting the sub division of the land.

“Despite the provisions, sub division was done and change of user proposed,” he said.

He told the protestors that the county, in a letter of objection to the National Land Commission had highlighted the anomalies, indicating that certain provisions were violated.

“Furthermore, changing land of use as a cemetery is a special issue that requires extensive consultations. This has not been done in this case,” said Mr Mukundi.

The county Sports chief executive Dominic Murani, who hails from the area, said they will oppose the projects, which he said is meant for wealthy Kenyans.