Kikuyu elders caught in Waititu, Tatu project row

Oliver Musembi and Mercy Mwai@PeopleDailyKe

Riot police sealed off the venue of a Kikuyu elders’ ceremony in Ruiru at the weekend in the wake of a stand-off between Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and Tatu City.

Members of the Kiama Kia ma Council of Elders had planned to conduct a cultural ceremony at Mugumo Gardens within Tatu City on Saturday, but police cancelled the event at the last minute and cordoned off the area.

The company claimed the ceremony was part of a scheme to grab a three-acre parcel of land which has been set aside for public use.

“Tatu City will defend its legitimate ownership of its investment. Waititu’s occupation of a public office does not entitle him to deprive any person or organisation of legitimate property. We urge him to keep off Tatu City,” the company said in a statement.

The company accused Waititu of using the elders meeting as a disguise to invade its property with a view to grabbing part of it, a claim that the governor’s office dismissed.

“Tatu City is in possession of credible information that Waititu has organised a group of individuals to invade the Tatu City development located in Ruiru tomorrow (Saturday 9 February),” read the statement.

Invade property

The management dismissed claims its project intrudes on public land as “illegitimate and absurd”. It blamed a cartel that it claimed had previously tried various methods of extortion, including forged KRA letters of demand, petitions to Parliament, EACC investigators, “corrupt elements in the police service and now persons masquerading as Kikuyu elders.”

But the elders, led by the council’s secretary general Joseph Muiru and senior members Kariuki Kabue, Njathi Mbatia and Dominic Ngeria condemned the move to interfere with their ceremony, terming it a violation of their constitutional rights.

Rights violation

The council members who later conducted their ceremony inside a hotel on the Northern Bypass, told Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to instruct his officers to keep off such functions as the conveners’ intentions were noble.

Separately, Tatu City management, through Corporate director Chris Barro, accused Kiambu county government of sabotaging its activities by failing to approve building plans for hundreds of investors.

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