Attempts to unearth a deadly cartel of serial land grabbers behind the recent unlawful evictions of residents from Nairobi City Water and Sewerage (NCWSC) staff quarters in Eastleigh and Pumwani have hit a fresh brick wall.
This is after a representative from the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) failed to furnish the Senate Devolution Committee with crucial information on the identities of the alleged rightful owners of the contentious parcels of land.
While appearing before the upper house on Thursday, 3rd March 2022, NMS Lands and Legal Director Stephen Mwangi pleaded for more time, claiming that the allocations were made many years ago; hence it is difficult to make out the complex data.
“If you ask me who owns each plot, I will not be able to know.
I ask the committee to give me more time to know when the allocations were done and the details of issuance of title deeds.” Mr Mwangi noted.
In response, the committee led by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang gave Mr Mwangi and his team to give a list of all persons linked to the grabbed plots by 7th March 2022.
In further orders, the Senators also issued summons to NMS Director-General Mohammed Badi as well as the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to appear before them within 7 days and explain why residents of the land in Pumwani and Eastleigh were evicted under the surveillance of police officers using state machinery.
Some members of the committee accused General Badi of allowing the anonymous private developers to orchestrate the mischievous land-grabbing scheme in the name of the National Police Service (NPS).
On the disputed piece of land that previously hosted NCWSC Pumwani staff quarters now sits a massive petrol station.
Within a few metres, multi-storeyed rentals are nicely coming up.
But when tenants were forcefully evicted in June 2021, Badi’s men at NMS purported that the parcel belonged to NPS who intended to set up a police station on the same site.
To make matters worse, the notice of eviction was served on the residents only two days to the evictions.
They claimed the land had been illegally occupied since 2008.
In proceeding with the demolitions, NMS blatantly disregarded earlier interim orders by the Environment and Land Court prohibiting any evictions pending the full hearing of the matter.
Considering these crucial factors, the devolution committee has accused NMS of being directly involved in land grabbing by aiding the illegal evictions.
Turning their blazing guns on Gen Badi, the Senators claim that his entity has taken over management of the Nairobi City County to abet illegal grabbing of land in the devolved unit.
They paid no consideration to the economic predicament brought about by the pandemic at the time.
At the time, the hopeless residents did not have the option of retreating to their rural homes due to the travel restrictions that the government had imposed on Nairobi.
As of the publishing of this post, neither Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai nor NMS Director-General Badi was yet to issue a public response to the summons.