Athi River Land Grabbing 2015 Letter Resurfaces

Athi River Land Grabbing 2015 Letter Resurfaces

Athi River Land Grabbing 2015 Letter Resurfaces

Families who had homes on East African Portland Company (EAPCC) land that was  in dispute are now counting their losses after the government intervened to  demolish the homes in accordance with a decree from President William Ruto. The Head of State had already expressed worry that big areas of land designated  for the cement firm had been taken by the wealthy family living there.

Alfred Mutua, who was the governor of Machakos at the time, highlighted the issue of the alleged grabbing in a letter he sent to Halakhe Waqo’s Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) in 2015.At the time, Mutua contended that a well-known MP had conspired with Ministry of Lands personnel to relocate squatters, which he claimed was the ideal setup for land grabs.

“Without the knowledge of the East African Portland Cement Company Limited Board and my Government of Machakos, the land that was leased to the East African Portland Cement Company Limited has begun to be taken, subdivided, and sold. The Portland Board claims that records in their hands demonstrate that the leases are still in effect, according to the letter.”Our initial investigations show that squatters were imported to the said land a few months ago to create the environment for land invasion and grabbing.”

The former governor further alleged that affluent people had moved in and had openly begun breaking the law by erecting houses on the property.”People have already purchased plots and begun construction. Planning, building permits, or subdivision have not been approved by my government. We believe that many people have fallen for scams. We worry that bloodshed could result if this situation is not resolved quickly, he continued.

The letter was also copied to former National Lands Commission Chairman Mohammed Swazuri, former Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, and the then-Lands CS Fred Matiang’i.However, it’s still not apparent whether the authorities took any action in response to the concerned letter.

Ruto gave the order for the seized land to be recovered and moved to the Athi River Export Processing Zones (EPZ) on Friday. “I have given clear instructions to the management here that all speculators, people who have held titles to pieces of land for 10, 15, 20, 30 years without developing them, should be revoked so that we can give it to people who want to use this facility,” he said.His instructions were based on a recent court decision in which a Machakos Court dismissed a 2014 lawsuit brought by some of the land’s occupants.

“It is hereby ordered that the Plaintiff’s suit be and is hereby struck out with costs to the Defendant, a copy of the proceeding and today’s ruling be supplied to the parties on payment of court fees,” said Lady Justice A. Nyukuri.

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