Since the 1990s, Molo has always been the poster-child of politics-fuelled ethnic clashes. In 1992 it was the epicentre of one of Kenya’s bloodiest conflicts that left thousands dead.
While towns have changed their character over time, until recently Molo looked like it was stuck in the past, dotted with old homes built shortly after independence.
Old estates like Kenyatta, Moto, Kasino, Mutirithia and Keepleft are more than 50 years old and looked like they were stuck in a time capsule.
Fast forward to today and the town is shaking off this unenviable tag with the last five years ushering the town into 21st Century Kenya.
“Many feared investing in Molo and its surrounding areas due to ethnic clashes. Confidence among the residents has built up and people from all tribes are now investing in any locality without fear. Most of the homes and commercial houses are multimillion investments,” says Janet Wairimu, a resident.
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Residents say the area’s newest neighbourhood, Treasure Island, is at the centre of this resurgence. The land on which it stands was at one time a 200-acre farm that was subdivided for residential settlement.
“The subdivision of land into plots began in 2013 and has since experienced a rapid population growth. The upmarket estate prides itself as a treasure island due to the high demand for land within it,” says Kennedy Kiago, a resident.
He says the upcoming estate, located three kilometres from the town along the Molo-Njoro road, has been the focus of many a real estate developer.
“As the town grew, the existing estates could not hold the population anymore. People wanted modern houses and own homes. The owner saw this window and made a good deal out of it,” says Kiago.
“In 2015 a plot (an eighth of an acre) in the estate would go at around Sh350,000. We formed table banking groups and approached the initial buyers. It was sparsely populated and the existing residents were welcoming,” says Joseph Maina, a buyer.
Five years down the line the area has grown beyond the imaginations of many residents with a new trading centre already coming up to serve the residents.
“Today the price of a 50 by 100 plot in the most interior parts stands at Sh600,000 while those closer to the tarmac are selling at around Sh800,000. Most of them have been developed with more people delivering construction materials daily,” says Maina.
Maina recalls acres of undeveloped land around his home with no defined roads and a no electricity supply.
“For the first time, roads were graded towards the end of last year. One can easily connect to Molo-Njoro road which is also set to be rehabilitated at a cost of Sh400 million. It is conveniently located for anyone who needs easy access to Molo and other neighbouring towns,” he says.