Close

LAWLESSNESS

Local investors rescued from goons over land dispute in Mavoko

The goons were allegedly hired by land cartels

In Summary

• Over 300 Water and Sewerage Welfare Association members raised alarm after they were attacked by around 30 youths armed with crude weapons over disputed land in Joska, Muthwani ward.

•  Documents seen by the Star show the members bought the land through a cheque-off system.

Part of the gang that attacked Waswa members on a disputed parcel of land at Joska in Mavoko, Machakos County on Saturday, January 11.
Part of the gang that attacked Waswa members on a disputed parcel of land at Joska in Mavoko, Machakos County on Saturday, January 11.
Image: GEORGE OWITI

Police rescued hundreds of local investors from goons suspected to have been hired by land cartels in Mavoko, Machakos county.

The officers swiftly moved into action on Saturday after the over 300 Water and Sewerage Welfare Association (Waswa) members raised alarm after they were attacked by around 30 youths armed with crude weapons over disputed land in Joska, Muthwani ward.

The goons escaped as soon as they realised police had been called to the scene.

 

The victims are members of an investment company formed by employees of now-defunct Nairobi City Council.

Although police restored calm before any physical confrontation, the two groups engaged in a fierce exchange of words, with the goons threatening to kill “some people”.

The Waswa members, who claimed they legitimately own the land, condemned the attack, saying they will not be cowed by land grabbers who want to keep them away from their land through threats, attacks, and intimidation.

“We bought this land from the defunct Nairobi City Council between 1994 and 1996 and were issued with allotment letters as ownership documents. Each member knows his or her plot,” Waswa chairman Vincent Ogillo told the press at the scene shortly after the incident.

The investors said the goons attacked them as they checked on their parcels. Each member owns at least 50 by 100 plot, and they have parcels in from phase one to seven.

Documents seen by the Star show the members bought the land through a cheque-off system. Some are now retired but others are still Nairobi county employees.

“We had visited one of our members who has settled on her plot and noticed a group of people entering a house near where we were. The first group of around 10 people entered the house but within minutes, others of around 20 arrived on motorbikes,” he said.

 

Ogillo said the gang of approximately 30 people first convened inside the house before they came out armed with machetes, slashers, metal bars, rungus and jembes, among other weapons.

Waswa members later accompanied their officials to Joska police post where they recorded a statement on the attack.

The officers faulted the complainants for convening on the disputed parcels without alerting the police for security provision.

“I blame the attack on your officials. We ought to have been notified of the meeting and land visit so that we can provide security,” a police officer said, noting that they are unaware of what is going on.

"If we could have known, we could have protected you here. There could be standby police officers.”

The officials, however, said they had informed the Matungulu subcounty police headquarters of the meeting and land visit.

“The DCI Matungulu is aware. We informed him and he okayed our visit,” Ogillo said.

The members said it was strenuous for them to keep on alerting police whenever they were visiting their property.

They demanded the suspects' arrest and a thorough search on the house where the weapons were removed expressing their fears that there could be more dangerous weapons hidden there.