MCAs direct City Hall to repossess disputed South B land

Urban planning executive says documents used to gain ownership were found to be fake

In Summary

•South B MCA Waithera Chege termed the move as historical and a big win for South B residents who had lost hope because of the land grabbers.

•the Committee's Chairman Kitsuru MCA Alvin Palapala ruled that the land should immediately be repossessed by the county.

Youths in Nairobi's South B estate protest against alleged encroachment of land by private developers on September 26, 2023.
Youths in Nairobi's South B estate protest against alleged encroachment of land by private developers on September 26, 2023.

Residents of South B estate in Nairobi have reason to smile after a piece of land claimed to have been grabbed by a private developer was declared a public facility.

This is after Nairobi's Urban Planning department declared that the contested land, LR NO 209/12612, belongs to the community.

During a Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday, Urban Planning and Built Environment county executive Stephen Mwangi revealed that the documents that had been produced by the private developer claiming the land belonged to them, were fake.

"This happened when some of us were not in office and we couldn’t trace some documents but according to what we have we are in agreement that it belongs to the public I will therefore hand over the matter to the inspectorate team to repossess it back to the county," Mwangi said.

The CEC highlighted that the fake documents indicated that they were signed by a sitting mayor in 2014 whereas in 2014 devolution had commenced and Nairobi had a governor in office.

The CEC spoke when he appeared before the County Assembly Planning Committee which was investigating the matter.

Now, the Nairobi County Assembly has directed the executive to immediately repossess the piece of land in South B.

The Committee chairman who doubles up as Kitsuru MCA Alvin Palapala ruled that the land should be repossessed immediately by the county.

"We have reached an agreement with the executive that the title deed of the private developer should be immediately revoked and the land should be returned to the residents of South B," he said.

South B MCA Waithera Chege termed the move historical and a big win for South B residents who had lost hope because of the land grabbers.

Waithera who is also the deputy minority leader in the county assembly has been at the forefront of efforts to protect the land and reported to the police that she had been threatened over her actions.

"We are pleased because it has been confirmed that the documents are not genuine and the committee has decided that the land should be returned to Nairobi South residents. The people have won," she said.

The UDA legislator alleged that the developer had even tried to use the name of the Head of State in an attempt to scare the residents but truth has saved the day.

"Someone even attempted to invoke the name of the President to try and intimidate us from fighting for the land but they have been put to shame," Waithera said.

The South B legislator said the land had been set aside for the establishment of a modern market in accordance with Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja's manifesto. 

On receiving the news of repossession the traders in South B ward have commended the county assembly and executive's efforts to protect their land from land grabbers.

South B ward is among the few areas in Nairobi which don't have a public market.

"The truth has seen the light and we are happy that soon we shall have a decent place to carry out our activities," James Mwangi, a trader said.

"The people will always have their way. Led by our MCA, we have really fought for this land and now justice has been served. We want the county government to now move with speed and start constructing the market," Jane Nduku, another trader said.

In August, a private developer, believed to be a sitting MP, caused an uproar after sending goons to demolish structures that were erected on the contested land.

What raised eyebrows, was that the demolition happened at night and an iron sheet fence was erected around it.

Angry residents pulled down the fence and the area has not been occupied by anybody up to date.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations in a letter dated September 19, 2023, had notified the Nairobi county of a probe pertaining to the alleged land fraud.

The DCI requested the county to furnish them with copies of survey plans, minutes of allocation, beacon certificates, letter of allotment and any other information that may assist in their investigations.

By this time, already, a petition by MCA Waithera was already before the county assembly planning and housing committee over the matter. The petition had signatures of more than 400 South B residents.

“That the modern market would benefit residents mostly by increasing employment opportunities, increasing quality of production, creating an environment for healthy competition and increasing consumer status,” the petition reads.

Last month, South B residents protested against a private developer who allegedly took over the land.

They were joined by their MCA and former Starehe MP Charles Njagua, who urged the county and national governments to protect the land meant for the construction of the only market in the ward.

This was after an alleged top security officer in the Starehe subcounty came to the contested land, claiming to have been sent by President Ruto over the issue.

The security officer claimed that matters on the disputed land had been settled and belonged to the private developer.

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