Court saves Raila, former PC in dispute on land next to Kirima's

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga addressing Mau Mau family members during the launch of Mau Mau Freedom Fighters Foundation and Website at Tamarind Tree Hotel in Nairobi on November 8, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Azimio leader Raila Odinga is among land owners whose plots along Kangundo Road have been saved from being taken over by a self-help group.

Raila alongside former Nairobi Provincial Commissioner Cyrus Maina were among beneficiaries of the 300-acre land.

The land was being claimed by Dandora off Kangundo Road Self Help Group but Justice Loice Komingoi declared that the complainants failed to prove that they were dispossessed of their plots through fraud.

“I find that the complainants have failed to prove that about 500 members of Dandora off Kangundo Road Self Help Group were dispossessed of their plots through acts of fraud. They have failed to prove their case on a balance of probabilities and the suit is dismissed,” ruled Justice Komingoi.

According to evidence submitted in court, the former Prime Minister was the beneficiary of 30 plots where the disputed land in Obama Estate along Kangundo Road is located while the former PC (Maina) was allocated 60 plots.

The land is adjacent to the 1000-acres owned by the late Gerishon Kirima family which the court recently ordered squatters to vacate.

Four members of the self-help group and their patron, former Kasarani MP William Omondi, had claimed that a rival faction of the group short-changed them, took over the land and sold it to third parties.

Omondi in his testimony, told the court that he initiated the process in 2000 when he was the area MP to help landless people acquire the land which at the time was vacant.

He testified that at the time, he was the coordinator of Raila’s National Development Party (NDP) and since he understood the plight of the party’s followers who were landless, he mobilised residents of Dandora to form the self-help group to improve their welfare.

The former MP said they approached the Ministry of Lands, the provincial administration and the defunct Nairobi City Council which confirmed to them that the land was vacant and available for allocation.

They did a subdivision of the area and produced 800 plots which were to be given to members of the self-help group.

Omondi told the court that after the deal was struck and the City Council approved the development plan, they agreed to give 30 plots to Raila, 60 plots to the then PC, he (former MP) had 100 plots allocated to him while the remaining 610 plots were to be allocated to the group members through balloting.

However, the ex-MP claimed that a splinter group of Dandora off Kangundo Road Self Help Group staged a coup, removed them from office and reallocated the plots in which 500 members lost their land to third parties.

But the rival group led by Daniel Odhiambo told the court that it was the ex-MP’s faction that wanted to grab the land since the genuine members had been given their plots and developed.

According to Odhiambo, the former MP had cooked up a number of 500 people claiming they had lost their portion when in reality all beneficiaries including Raila and Maina had their plots intact.

He testified that the group had 642 members who each got a plot and that it was only after the ex-MP sold his share of 100 plots that he started demanding more and hatched the plot with imaginary beneficiaries to reclaim more land.

Justice Komingoi agreed with Odhiambo that the alleged 500 beneficiaries said to have missed their plots were none existent since they had not appended their signatures to support the claim and it was only a trick by the complainants to grab the land.

“They have not even identified the plots whose allotment they want nullified. The owners of such plots named in the suit including provincial administrators like the PC and Honourable Raila Odinga would end up being condemned unheard since they were not enjoined in the suit,” she ruled.

The judge added that none of the 500 persons who are said to have been disposed of their land came to court to testify testified while others who testified were not the original members of the self-help group who were allocated the land.

In any event, the judge ruled that the ex-MP and his faction had registered a separate entity known as Dandora Kangundo Road Squatters Resettlement Project which was separate from the original Dandora Off Kangundo Road Self- Help Group which was allocated the land.