Over 4,000 squatters living on land belonging to Mbo-I-Kamiti Farmers Company have been ordered by the Ruiru Municipal Council to move out before New Year’s Day.
Mayor Geoffrey Kaara said the squatters at Twiga estate face eviction after the expiry of a quit notice issued three weeks ago.
He warned that the council would demolish houses built without its approval. “We shall move in any time now and pull the structures down,” he said.
Mr Kaara claimed that a local administrator and a council official were allocated chunks of land on the controversial parcel.
“These are the people protecting a cartel that is selling the Mbo-I-Kamiti land to unsuspecting investors.
“Buyers should be warned that they stand to lose heavily if they go on and build houses there,” the mayor said.
The civic authority had passed a resolution outlawing any illegal constructions on the land which falls within its jurisdiction. The move was supported by the Local Government ministry.
Speaking while presenting Christmas donations to needy families, the mayor launched a scathing attack on a senior administrator whom he accused of working in cahoots with some council officers to frustrate councillors.
“We demand the immediate transfer of the officer, as he has become a thorn in our flesh. He no longer serves the interests of Ruiru residents,” Mr Kaara said.
The mayor explained that the council was unable to stop the constructions earlier as the squatters had erected a barrier.
However, the planned eviction has met strong opposition from the squatters and human rights groups.
Human Rights and Information Forum executive director Josedas Muthama termed the move as insensitive and illegal and said his organisation would mobilise residents to resist the demolitions.
An official of the Thika Slums Upgrading and Squatters Resettlement Scheme Simon Kihoro also said the planned evictions was illegal.
The squatters have been involved in an ownership tussle with the Mbo-I-Kamiti company.
Previous efforts by the company to evict the squatters have been fruitless and at one time led to a violent clash.
The squatters claim a Swedish national in 1963 bequeathed his workers the land as compensation for their unpaid wages.