Some of the known leaders of these self-help groups have paid the ultimate price of death and investigations into their cold-blood murders remain unresolved up to date.
David Odongo Mukabana aka Dosh, Jared Achok alias Patron, Simon Rayboy Mwangi aka Kamahuha and Stephen Mugo Mutothori were known barons in Embakasi, which had large swathes of idle private and public land. They were all felled gangland style.
The ODM youth leader was killed in what was believed to have been a premediated attack.
The father of four was shot dead at the gate of his Upper Chokaa home in Njiru at around 9:45pm. The killers appeared to have laid in wait.
As usual, Mukabana hooted thrice at the gate to announce his arrival but was attacked by four gun-toting men as a female relative opened the gate.
There are claims that three days prior to his death, Mukabana was involved in an altercation with a businessman over a disputed piece of land in Savana.
He was also linked to the perennial land disputes in Embakasi, where other perceived land barons have fallen in almost similar style.
Mukabana, who had political ambitions, joins the list of prominent individuals from the area whose unsolved killings have been linked to land. They include Jared Achok, Onesmus Mutinda Katunge, Simon Rayboy Mwangi, John Maina Kaibere and Stephen Mugo Mutothori.
The devout Legio Maria faithful encouraged youth to form self-help groups that would later encroach on idle land whose leases had expired or were nearing expiry. He had loyal followers in Chokaa and Njiru.
He was shot dead in broad daylight on October 4, 2014 along Manyanja Road in Umoja estate while heading to town. The assailants, who were trailing him first blocked his vehicle, aimed at the driver before going for Achok who was occupying the back seat.
The flamboyant but secretive operative had managed to compromise the police, provincial administration as well as land and court officials who looked the other ways when complaints were made to them.
The man had constantly received death threats from either members of rival gangs or people claiming their land had been grabbed
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Before the slaying, Achok had taken a low profile fearing for his safety. He had started relocating to his rural home in Homa Bay County and was planning to establish a gold-mining business in Migori.
The killers have never been apprehended and investigations at Buru Buru Police Station seem to have hit a dead end. His death was linked to an attempt to invade private land in Mwiki.
The businessman cum politician was slain in May 2009 near Dagoretti Corner as he drove to his Karen home.
He was shot five times in the head at close range after his Toyota Prado was blocked by a minibus whose registration plates had been concealed.
The gunmen first deflated the Prado’s tyres before shooting Mwangi when jumped out of the car. The gunmen did not steal anything from the victim so was subsequent investigations that yield nothing.
A Kanu stalwart in Nairobi who severally and unsuccessful vied for the Embakasi parliamentary seat, Mwangi was an official in self self-group groups that encroached and settled on idle parcels of land in the then expansive constituency.
At the time of his death, Mwangi was engaged in a bitter feud with officials of a Sacco after the politician attempted to take over land near Umoja belonging to the outfit.
The former Nyeri mayor and chair of Kiambu Dandora Farmers Company Limited was shot dead on April 2, 2005 outside his bar in Kibra in a cold blood murder linked to perennial land disputes in Kariobangi South, Umoja and Sosian.