Buyers asked to be cautious over land disputes

A tractor prepares a trench at a disputed ten-acre piece of land near Day Star University in Athi River on Dec 10, 2023. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

Land buyers in Athi River have been cautioned to do due diligence before making any payments.

This is as it emerged that land conflicts continue escalating in Athi-river, Mavoko Machakos County amid an outcry by residents.

The residents claim that some rogue land grabbers are taking toll on them while also implicating some police officers over complicity.

In October last year, a mega demolition that left hundreds of families was carried out in a land tussle pitting East African Cement Company (EAPCC)and settlers.

But locals now say since the demolition happened, rogue land dealers have resorted to demolishing homes and fencing vacant land claiming ownership.

They argue that the land claimants do not present any ownership documents but instead turn up accompanied by armed uniformed police officers.

Residents within the Daystar University area are among the locals who have protested against an alleged land-grabbing plot of over a 10-acre piece of land.

The devastated locals claim to have genuine ownership documents and have been residing peacefully in the land.

However, unknown people are now intimidating them to vacate or face forceful evictions.

''For how long are we going to suffer in the hands of these alleged grabbers?" said Ken Mwedwa Maasai, one of the residents.

The families are now calling on the concerned stakeholders to intervene and ensure the rightful owners of the land are protected.

They are also faulting Athi River police commander of not doing enough to cushion them.

''We request the government to intervene and solve this land matters amicably. We cannot keep on living like foreigners while we are in our own country,'' said Tutus Maeke a resident.

Sub-county police commander Jos Mudavadi said a decision to provide security during the erection of a perimeter wall on a 10-acre piece of land was reached at a sub-county security committee meeting.

He said this was done after relevant documents were presented by the claimant.

Speaking to the Standard in his Athi River office, Mudavadi advised land buyers to do due diligence before engaging in any land transactions.

''I am sending a stern warning to those who wish to buy land in Athi River not to rush. They should do due diligence first, we are tired of these land-related wrangles,'' said the police boss.

Mudavadi said the security agencies are closely working with land officials to ensure all complaints are fully and timely addressed.