Fears are rife of a planned grabbing of a section of the Thika War Cemetery land in Thika’s Makongeni area in Kiambu County by shadowy businesspeople and private institutions. According to a whistleblowing letter addressed to the National Land Commission (NLC), a popular private institution is said to have encroached into the graveyard with the assistance of Kiambu County government officials.
The institution alleged to have hived off part of the cemetery is also embroiled in a 50 acres land tussle in Nakuru with family members of a senior politician in the country. In 2019, former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu led Thika residents in reclaiming 100 acres of grabbed land within Thika Municipality
Mr Waititu sought the help of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to recover stolen public land lamenting that grabbers have wreaked havoc in towns across the county and irregularly acquired public and community land. “Land grabbers have illegally acquired huge tracts of land. We plead with the EACC to help us recover the parcels of land that have been grabbed.” Waititu, the then governor decried.
Using bulldozers and crowbars, they pulled down perimeter walls in Maasai village and Kiang’ombe areas. Residents had earlier told the governor the grabbed land was part of 360 acres meant to resettle squatters in Kiang’ombe and Maasai villages and build schools. Mr Waititu supervised the demolition saying the land will revert to the intended purpose. “As a county government we shall not allow individuals to steal public land,” he said. During the same period, the Ministry of Lands transferred more than 600 officers from the Lands Registries in the wake of a probe into their role in the theft of public land.