INVESTOR CRIES FOUL

Government returns to public land grabbed by Goodrich Schools

Deputy county commissioner says his office has wrote many letters to the National Land Commission and other agencies before the action was taken.

In Summary

• Yesterday, Embakasi subcounty deputy county commissioner Gitonga Murugi and local leaders ordered the Goodrich Schools to surrender the land.  

• Before the change of ownership, the MCC was a public primary and secondary school that admitted pupils from the constituency.

Gate A of Goodrich Schools at Imara Daima on January 4 2020.
Gate A of Goodrich Schools at Imara Daima on January 4 2020.
Image: MERCY MUMO

The government has repossessed and returned to the public a community centre in Imara Daima that had been taken over by a private investor. 

The developer had transformed the Mukuru Community Centre (MCC) into a private primary school and named it Goodrich Schools.

On Monday, Embakasi subcounty deputy county commissioner Gitonga Murugi and local leaders ordered the Goodrich Schools to surrender the land.  

 

Before the change of ownership, the MCC was a public primary and secondary school that admitted pupils from the constituency.

Residents of Mukuru Kwa Njenga slums and Imara Daima took to the streets on Monday to protest against what they said was land grabbing by the developer.

But the Goodrich Schools' proprietor Gideon Kyalo denied the land grabbing allegations and accused the local leaders of inciting the public against him.  

Kyalo said that the land was part of the self-help group that was called MCC Chokora.

He said that with other community leaders, they later decided to transform the school to Mukuru Educational Centre before they changed the name to Goodrich Schools. 

The deputy county commissioner said that the government has taken over the matter and students will be admitted to MCC in two weeks as a public facility.

"We have taken over the matter as we cannot see our community suffer because of one person. The registration is ongoing and students from PP1 will start learning tomorrow (today)," Gitonga said.

Embakasi subcounty Deputy County Commissioner Gitonga Murugi inspecting Mukuru Community Centre blocks that were donated by KQ to the community.
Embakasi subcounty Deputy County Commissioner Gitonga Murugi inspecting Mukuru Community Centre blocks that were donated by KQ to the community.
Image: MERCY MUMO

The MCC was founded in 1998 by Julius Muviu and Philip Kimeu. Kyalo joined the MCC project later.

The land is estimated to be 1.65 hectares (four acres). It also hosts the office of the chief, St Bakita Catholic Church and St Nicolas Academy.

“The school is one of the structures in this whole land that will be returned to the community. Any other structure apart from the three (church, administration camp and school) is illegal,” Murungi said.

The administrator said the exercise to return the school to the community has not started recently, but a long time ago.  

“We have written several letters to the National Land Commission and other agencies. In 2015, we got a response saying the land was put aside for national government administration, church and school,” he said.

On February 1, 2006, MCC received a donation of Sh68 million from Kenya Airways to modernise the centre.

Area MP Musili Mawathe in a meeting with the Mukuru Kwa Njenga residents said that he will not allow private developers to take away community land.

Penniah Wanjohi registers pupils for the 2020 intake at MCC Primary School on January 6, 2020
Penniah Wanjohi registers pupils for the 2020 intake at MCC Primary School on January 6, 2020
Image: MERCY MUMO

On December 22, Anointed Academy, a community school next to Goodrich Schools was brought down.

The locals accused Goodrich Schools owners of being behind the demolition.

Anointed Academy director said that Kyalo had requested them to sell their piece of land to him but they refused because they were not ready to sell it.

(edited by O. Owino)