Squatters stage protest after private developer claims land

Squatters in Nairobi’s Donholm Estate are up in arms after a private developer who has laid claim on their piece of land despite legal documents. Members of Sowesava Self Help Group in Donholm Phase 8 have vowed to spend nights on the land that has been in contention for the last two decades, long after the legal process of acquiring it were complete, including several declarations by the National lands Commission (NLC) chairman Mohammed Swazuri.

Like any other land case in the country, it has been a matter of tears, blood, confrontation and even death. Twice, guards station on the piece land have ended up in police stations following arrest and at the same time, there are suspicions of two high profile deaths, though, not confirmed.

The hundreds of squatters have pulled down a perimeter wall that pops up every often, but at a cost that sees them face humiliation by the police who have taken sides, according to the squatters who feel short-changed by the authorities.

In them, there is bitterness and anger, only neutered by a fact that the land commission has given a positive ruling for them, but, still, there is a barricade in the subdivision of the land as an unknown claimant to the land keeps frustrating the lot.

The land, allotted to the group and confirmed by the authorities has been subject to litigation like any other sqauater land, where the title deed acquisition has been problematic and encumbered in fraud and forgery. The squatters group chairman Alex Shihemi Hoops told the media that efforts to get titles for Nairobi Block 82/7333 measured at 11.6 hectares are impeded by a ‘faceless developer who enjoys protection in high offices’.

Shihemi said that the issue of the land has landed on every office associated with it on the land but remains a distant reality for the group due to politics and interests from an intruder they don’t know and have never met. “This might be the biggest fraud and politics protection scheme in the history of our country. We have won claim on this land through a court case.

We won the appeal by the unknown developer after he failed to prosecute the case. We have been called to a public inquiry by the NLC. We have paid all the due costs and charges associated with it. “Every time we make a move to officialise its documentation, there is a blockade that is monitored and directed by police. Last week, the county government pulled down a wall erected by the developer.

Six people were arrested but failed to appear in court on Monday. We are just wondering who is this powerful gentleman behind this scheme to defraud us,” said Shihemi, a former administrator in various wards in the capital. Shihemi said the land was allocated in 1997 but moves by the owners have been blocked by people enjoying protection from police and politicians in the county and beyond.

“We approached the former Governor Evans Kidero and he put the case through the required enquiries and it was determined by the NLC that the land belonged to Sowesava in 2016, through a letter by chairman Swazuri.

The matter was confirmed by a Crminal Investigations Department (CID) report that even took issue with the fraudulent documents used by the claimant to this land. “The NLC even confirmed the same as late as March 8 but still, we are facing hurdles laid by people determined to take away the land from us,” said Shihemi.

In a letter to CEC Land, Nairobi County, NLC chairman Swazuri says: “This office is therefore asking your office to proceed and process sub-division scheme plan for the above parcel of land, then survey as per the scheme plan approved and have the R.I.M amended by the Director of Surveys.

Upon the RIM being amended the same should be forwarded to this office with the area list and names of the member for onward processing.” In another letter, Paul Ndambuki, Nairobi County Investigations and Information Analysis director confirmed that Sowesava rightfully owned the land after fulfilling all the requirements of allotment and registration.

“Sowesava Self Help Group obtained the parcel of land from the absolute ownership of themselves to that of people unknown to them. The county government should proceed and settle the squatters as directed by NLC.”

“Any other party claiming ownership be charged of forcible entry contrary to section 90 of the penal code and forcible detainer contrary to section 91 of the penal code, since they do not have colour of right over Nairobi Block 82/733. Going by the ruling of high court civil case No. 336/2003 and determination by the NLC,” says Ndambuki.

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