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Ruto dragged into South B land grabbing saga amid residents’ protest

Residents of South B estate in Nairobi on September 26, 2023,  took to the streets to protest against what they said was the grabbing of prime land in the area by a private developer.

Under the leadership of Nairobi South Member of County Assembly (MCA) Waithera Chege, the residents paralyzed normal businesses along the busy streets in the area as they held peaceful demonstrations.

According to Ms Waithera, a modern market was supposed to be constructed on the disputed land which would have been beneficial for the area residents who do not have a place to buy and sell their wares.

She accused the private developer of dragging the name of President William Ruto into the saga during the meeting at the said land on September 25, 2023, which was disrupted by rowdy youths.

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The MCA said that during the meeting that was chaired by the Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), a section of the residents were informed that the President allegedly authorized the transfer of the land ownership to the private developer who intended to build a shopping mall.

“DCC is not the chair of the National Land Commission and has the authority to communicate any report here about the land dispute. The only institution in this country which has been given power to solve land disputes by the constitution is the National Land Commission,” MS Waithera said.

She stated that the case is pending before the National Assembly whereby the residents petition the National Land Commission to clear the Air over the land ownership.

In the petition, the office of the Nairobi Governor was mentioned and will be expected to appear to shed more light on the matter, which has been an emotive issue in South B for the last two months.

“We want the DCC to tell us if the President really sent him to meet the residents, without consulting the area Member of Parliament or the MCA.”

One of the MPs from Kiambu County has been accused by the residents of claiming ownership of land.

“You can’t tell me that the disputed land is owned by a representative from Kiambu County because when I schooled here some years back, that land has been in place for the residents as a market.”

At the moment, the small traders in South B have no market and have been selling their items along the busy roads, which the MCA said is too risky for them.

Former Starehe MP Charles Njagua Kanyi, well known as Jaguar also took part in the demonstration, saying that he would rally behind the residents to have their land back.

Jaguar said that the Kenya Kwanza administration promised to construct more new markets in Nairobi, which will be a big challenge if land issues are not solved.

“I’m with you, together with the MCA to ensure that the modern market is constructed here to create employment opportunities for our mothers, and the youths so that they stop being jobless,” Jaguar said.

Talent, Skills and Care County Executive Committee Member (CEC) Rosemary Kariuki, whose name has been mentioned for interfering with the land’s documents while serving as Trades CEC ruled out the allegations.

“Let her come and face me instead of issuing threats in the media. We have the documents showing the real owner of the land. Those allegations are malicious. She is trying to call me a thief, which I will not allow,” CEC said.