No retreat, no surrender: Sakaja vows to protect South B public land

The Governor said that there are 800 parcels of land that need to be repossessed.

In Summary

•Governor Sakaja said that he was aware of the land tussle in South B and he would ensure that justice is served.

•Sakaja called on South B residents to give him time as the matter will be looked into.

Nairobi Govenror Johnsom Sakaja
Nairobi Govenror Johnsom Sakaja
Image: NCCG

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has vowed to protect public City land from land grabbers.

He said on Friday that all land belonging to the public will be reclaimed from land grabbers.

Speaking to the Star, Sakaja said that he was aware of the land tussle in South B and he would ensure that justice was served.

“ I want to tell the residents of South B that no public land will land in the hands of private developers,” he vowed.

Sakaja highlighted that last year when the matter came to his attention, he instructed the Ministry of Lands to put a caveat on that land.

A caveat by law is a notice issued probate, that certain actions may not be taken without informing the person who gave the notice.

Explaining to the Star, the Governor said that 800 parcels of land needed to be recovered by the county that had been grabbed.

He said the rot came to the limelight after an investigation was launched into the land records in the county.

" A team was tasked to go through the county minute book from the time of the county councils since the 1970s. So far, we've found 800 plots and we're working on reclaiming them," Sakaja said.

"We have reclaimed several parcels of grabbed land that were surrendered to the county in Roysambu ( 18 acres), Kasarani, Dagoretti South (Mutuini and Uthiru) as well as wetlands," he added.

Mutuini Ward is one of the areas affected by land grabbing and the county recently reclaimed the 2.4 acres of prime land at Dagoretti Market along Dagoretti/Karen Road that was previously in the hands of land grabbers.

At the moment, a Sh244 million state-of-the-art market is being constructed.

In addition, Sakaja called on South B residents to give him time as the matter will be looked into.

"My administration will protect public lands, social halls and public school properties. We will get the parcels and issue the title deeds," he added.

The residents who staged a protest on Friday said that the county should intervene and take a stand on the matter.

Led by their area MCA Waithera Chege, they vowed to protect the land which was earmarked for market construction.

"The reason why we are here is to let everyone know that public land belongs to the people and it will be protected," she said.

" I'm calling upon Governor Sakaja to join us in fighting against land grabbing. We were elected in office to represent the people's voice and they have spoken," 

"As leaders, we need to join hands and protect this land. If the land goes, South B will go down history as one of the wards with no market space for traders."

The contested land is  LR NO 209/12612.

In August 2023, there was an uproar after it was reported that goons had allegedly been sent to demolish the structures that were erected on the contested land.

Residents pulled down the fence and the area has not been occupied up to date.

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

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 read.

In September, South B residents protested against the alleged land grabbing. 

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 security officer came to the contested land claiming that matters on the disputed land had been settled.

The following month, the Nairobi county government declared that the contested land, LR NO 209/12612, belonged to the community.

Since then, the land has not been occupied.

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