Residents cry foul as land grabbers invade Athi River

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

Land conflicts continue escalating in Athi-river, Mavoko Machakos County amid an outcry by residents who claim that rogue land grabbers are taking a toll on them implicating some rogue police officers on 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.

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

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

Within the Daystar area ,residents are among the recent locals to protest an alleged land grabbing plot of over 10acre piece of land expressing fear over looming evictions.

Devastated locals claim to have genuine ownership documents and have been residing peacefully in the land but unknown people are now intimidating them to vacate or face forceful evictions.

''Until when are we going to suffer in the hands  of this alleged grabbers, where are our rights, posed 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 accusing Athi River police commander of high hardness in dealing with emotive land conflict.

''We request the government to intervene and solve this land matters amicably, we cannot keep on leaving here like foreigners while we are in our own country, we never settle peacefully with our families'' said Tutus Maeke a resident.

However, sub county police commander Jos Mudavadi on the other hand distanced himself with land conflicts saying a decision to provide security during the erection of perimeter wall on 10 acre piece of land was reached at sub county security committee meeting after relevant documents were presented by the claimant.

Speaking to the Standard in his Athi River office yesterday, Mudavadi warned those who with to purchase pieces of land in the area to do a due diligence first before engaging in any land transactions.

''I'm sending a stan warning to those  who wish to buy land in Athi River not to rush, thy should do a due diligence first, we are tied of this land wrangles'' said the police boss.

He says the County security committee is leaving no stone un turned in resolving the arising conflict.

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

Machakos and Mavoko lands and environment courts are piled with hundreds of land cases that are yet to be settled.

Reports of land invasion by intruders,and issues of land grabbing is the order of the day at the Athi River police station.

Existence of large parcels of undeveloped land, proximity to Nairobi and large number of brokers are among challenges said to escalate the conflicts

By AFP 9 hrs ago
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