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War facility says it owns Rift Valley hospital land

 A section of the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

A private hospital in Nakuru has claimed ownership of a 25-acre piece of land on which the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital-Annex stands.

This revelation occurred just days after Nakuru MCAs resolved to have the county executive acquire title deeds for all public health facilities in the county, including that of the PGH Annex.

Over the weekend, the directors of Nakuru War Memorial Hospital said the land on which the PGH Annex stands belongs to them. They further said they possess the land title deed that encompasses both the PGH Annex and the open field near State House, Nakuru, where helicopters land.

Both PGH Annex and War Memorial hospitals share the same premises and are in close proximity to State House.

In a report that was debated and passed by the assembly in 2021, MCAs resolved that the county executive should expedite the process of acquiring the deed and returning the land to the government.

Additionally, a report recently tabled at the assembly by the departmental committee on health reiterated the directive to expedite the process of acquiring deeds for all public health facilities in the county.

However, Simon Mwangi, one of the directors, said it is the government attempting to seize private land.

Dr Mwangi said he needed to respond after he came across a publication in The Standard, which reported that the assembly had recommended the government be granted title deeds for the hospital’s land. “War Memorial Hospital is the rightful owner of the land. It was granted a title deed for the land in 1922 for a 99-year lease,” Mwangi said.

He said after a year of waiting and facing disputes with the county government, the government renewed the lease for another 50 years.

“We were compelled to go to Nairobi because the land offices in Nakuru refused to renew the title deed after it expired in 2021,” he said.

According to Mwangi, the land office had reportedly received a letter from high-ranking government officials, whom he declined to name, instructing them to reject the renewal of the title documents.

Mwangi said War Memorial Hospital, a private healthcare facility, was constructed on private land in the 1930s to provide care to veterans of the First and Second World Wars.

However, he recalled an incident from the 1950s when the first President, Jomo Kenyatta, declared that a portion of the War Memorial Hospital should be forcibly “annexed” by the government.

“Despite the fact that the entire property was owned by War Memorial Hospital, and there was a deed dating back to the 1920s to confirm this ownership, the President still declared that the land should be under state ownership,” he said.

Mwangi said despite the construction of the Annex hospital by the War Memorial, the hospital had to relinquish a smaller portion of the building as they couldn’t contend with the government in power.

He refuted claims that War Memorial Hospital grabbed the property and additionally contended that the area where government helicopters land belongs to the hospital.

“How can the government forcibly take a part of our property and later claim ownership without any legal documentation?” Mwangi said.

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