A former Member of Parliament and a lawyer are among people said to have grabbed land meant for public use and who have refused to vacate despite the National Land Commission (NLC) revoking title deeds in their possession.
Last year, NLC, in a Kenya Gazette notice dated July 17, announced that it had revoked title deeds for 46 plots (Muguga/Gitaru), which were issued after illegal sub-division of more than 10 acres of land. The said land is in the outskirts of Kikuyu town in Kiambu County.
The commission says that the land, which would currently fetch Sh600 million, is “public utility land for county commissioner’s office, roads and County Government of Kiambu.”
NLC said the reason for revocation of the title deeds was that the land, part of which currently hosts private businesses, a private school and churches, “(is) vested in national and county governments for re-planning to accommodate public utilities and bona fide allottees.”
The massive grabbing came to light during an inquiry into another land meant for the construction of a road (E1507) — which was an addendum for the Southern By-Pass — by private developers, following complaints from residents to the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA).
The road was supposed to be 18 metres wide, but had been reduced to 10 metres, and some of the grabbers were demanding compensation, a matter that saw the NLC invited to interrogate the issue.
“That is when it was established that other than the grabbing of land meant for a road, other public utility land had also been grabbed. NLC decided to revoke the title deeds,” said Mr Binary Wainaina, the former Kikuyu Township ward representative.
It is said that rogue officials of the Kikuyu Town County Council (now defunct) facilitated illegal sub-division and processing of title deeds and the land had, over the years, been sold to third parties.
After the occupants refused to heed the NLC Gazette notice, the County Government, on April 5, this year, through County Secretary Martin Njogu, issued a public notice asking them to vacate, failing which the county would demolish all structures on the land.
But there has been no movement either on the side of the encroachers or the county government since the public notice was issued.
On Wednesday, NLC acting chairperson Abigail Mbagaya told the Daily Nation that their ruling was still in force, but that it is the responsibility of the county to recover the land.
“The revocation still stands unless there is an appeal (against the NLC decision) which I have not seen, (and) it is now the responsibility of the land owners (county government) to recover it,” Ms Mbagaya said.