By Jeckonia Otieno
Nairobi, Kenya: If indeed the Government intends to demolish property along a road reserve in Runda, then developers will incur huge losses regardless of how they acquired the property.
The County Weekly took time to view the estate which is earmarked for demolition. Being a gated community, Cycad Mimosa has just one access road. It can be accessed from the Northern Bypass only. After passing through not less than three gates, with no-nonsense security guards, the guard we met at the final entrance asked us where we were going.
When we mentioned Mimosa, he said we would not be allowed in under any circumstances. We insisted to be let in but he warned us we would not be let in.
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True to his word, when we got to the gate of Cycad, the security guard could not allow us in because he had strict orders from the owners that nobody, not even the media, should be allowed in.
The only option we had was to climb onto the bypass railings to get a view of the estate.
The palatial estate could not be missed for the opulence it depicted, enclosed within a perimeter wall with an electric fence.
As our photographer clicked away, passersby wondered why our focus was on the estate. It must have taken millions or even billions of shillings to put up such structures.
Yet part of this estate is to be demolished because it is alleged to have been built on a road reserve.
The plan to partially demolish the encroachment into land set aside for the road is expected to affect about 296 families, to pave way for construction of 25 kilometres of the Northern bypass.
Construction of roads that ring Nairobi City is expected to ease the incessant traffic congestion the city faces.
Other roads are the Eastern Bypass which is complete and the Southern Bypass whose construction is on course and expected to be completed by 2015.
A petition filed by the developers against the Government over the width of the road was thrown out by Lady Justice Mumbu Ngugi.
They argued that the road reserve was 60 metres as opposed to government’s records which showed that the road reserve is 80 metres.
In Article 40 of the Constitution, the law is clear on property protection. This applies to property that has been legally acquired.
The Chairperson of the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya, Collins Kowuor, states that there is no legal provision to protect those who acquire land illegally.
“If the land in question is illegally acquired, then the Government cannot compensate the supposed owners because they are not backed by the law,” says Mr Kowuor.
He says that a case of such illegality may arise where the buyer is duped into acquiring property that has been set aside by the Government, like a road reserve.
He says: “Land sharks are on the prowl, making a killing from unsuspecting buyers who end up on the wrong side of the law; they end up selling property that has been set aside and leave the problem with the buyers who later realise they have lost much after they have invested in the property.”
Other quarters are of the opinion that since the legal channel was followed then the developer has every reason to obey the law and effect the court ruling.