Desperate land victims beg DCI to assist them get their money

Jennifer Musau displays a deed. Her women's group purchased one acre of land at Sh1.8 million. [Courtesy]

As the demolition of houses continues at the controversial land in Mavoko, Machakos County, victims are narrating their pain, sorrow and despair.

At Athi River sub-county police headquarters, more than one hundred victims rushed to present their grievances.

Officers from the DCI headquarters in Nairobi set up a help desk where victims present their complaints on how they bought the disputed pieces of land.

Ms Jennifer Musau says a charlady of Nyamash women's group had purchased one acre of land at Sh1.8 million.

She said the group of 22 women bought the land from Aimi Ma Lukenya society to construct rental houses.

"We had saved a substantial amount of money to buy a piece of land where we could construct rental houses and get money from them. We are shocked that even those who had already constructed their houses have been demolished,” said Musau.

She told The Standard how they paid the money in instalments through a bank. "In fact, we paid our last instalment of Sh420,00 last week, we are appealing to the DCI to intervene and help us get our money back," she added.

Another victim, Justin Nyakudi said he bought the land in 2018 at Sh300,000, from one of the society directors.

Holding his certificate, Nyakundi pleads with DCI to help him get back his money. ''I have now realised I was conned, these people should be arrested and taken to court. They should also refund our money,'' said Nyakundi.

Moses Mwambi said he has lost property worth Sh5 million. He bought a piece of land at Sh2 million and later constructed a rental house of a similar amount.

The house was at the finishing stage when it was demolished on Saturday and he is now appealing to the government to intervene and help him get his money back.

''The directors of this society knew what they were doing, when I bought this land, they pushed me to construct a house immediately, they must be punished,” Mwambi said.

Susan Muoki, a mother of two, has been living on the disputed land for two years. She said she was given a 50x100 plot by the Aimi Ma Lukenya society leaders, after doing manual work for them.

She constructed a one-roomed structure, where she has been living with her children. "I sell vegetables for a living and my two children a boy and a girl have been learning in one of the institutions that have been demolished. Our house was also demolished on Tuesday. I wonder what to do now,'' said Muoki.

The prime land in question, LRNo 10424, is located along Mombasa Road, south of Athi River township in Machakos County.

At the heart of the battle is 4,298 acres owned by the cement manufacturing company. The land is currently valued at approximately Sh15 million per acre and the prime land has over the years been a tag of war among individuals claiming ownership and some local community members claiming to be squatters. 

The demolitions started after President William Ruto ordered squatters occupying part of EAPC land to vacate.

Environment and Lands Court last Monday struck out the case filed 10 years ago by Aimi ma Lukenya society after they failed to comply with the court orders.