Nairobi City County Governor Johnso Sakaja has made good on his threat and acted to restore all public land that cartels had seized. He made the pledge during his swearing-in ceremony promising to fight city cartels and land grabbers who have grabbed public land from the people of Nairobi.
Already, Governor Sakaja has established a task force of county officials with support from the National Lands Commission, which is tasked with identifying and reclaiming all public land in various parts of the city. In what appeared to be a well-coordinated exercise from the governor’s office, the county government reclaimed prime public land at the junction of Kiambu Road and the northern bypass (four ways) from land grabbers. Enforcement officers from the county government, with the assistance of police officers, repossessed the 18 acres of land that had been grabbed by private developers and land cartels.
According to county acting secretary Patrick Analo, the land in question is county government land set aside for the construction of public amenities for use by neighbourhood residents. The prime parcel of land was surrendered and reserved for the construction of public facilities, such as a market, school, hospital, health centre, football field, and social hall. However, private developers have since developed two petrol stations, car bazaars, eateries, beauty shops, pharmacies, and other businesses.
A multi-sectoral team from the county’s urban planning department, security compliance, and armed police officers were on site today to issue demolition notices against the illegal developments. Chief Officer of Lands, Cecilia Koigu, has said that the county government will move forward to demolish all illegal developments upon the expiry of the enforcement notice issued in accordance with the Physical and Land Use Planning Act (PLUPA 2019) and the building code.
The task force formed by Sakaja is said to be targeting all public land grabbed by cartels in Karen, Kasarani, Tassia, Mwiki, Roysambu, Kilimani, and Runda, among others. According to Acting County Secretary Patric Analo, the repossession exercise has been fruitful, as a number of seized parcels of land have been repossessed. Recently, the county government demolished an illegal nursery school in Upperhill and has also stopped all illegal development on public land in Tassia, Clay City, and Kimathi Estates in Eastlands.
“We call upon city dwellers with information on public land grabbed to volunteer information to the county government so that it is reclaimed and developed for public use”. Said Analo. Nairobi residents have given Sakaja a thumbs up and have vowed to volunteer information that might lead to reclaiming grabbed public land. Local residents have reported that unless such public places are reclaimed by the county and properly managed, residents will be unable to enjoy the benefits that come along with such parcels of land.