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South B residents clash with private developer in land ownership row

A section of residents of South ‘B’ area, an estate within Nairobi, are up in arms against a private developer whom they accuse of demolishing shops and stalls in the area.

The move by the developer, believed to be a sitting MP from Kiambu, caused an uproar among residents who responded by pulling down the iron sheet barrier that had encircled the land with registration number LR.NO 209/12621.

The locals, who spoke to Nairobi News, claimed the land, which was earmarked for the construction of a modern market, had been grabbed by the powerful MP.

According to the locals, the centre has never had a market and traders have been selling their wares along the streets and roads, which is risky for them.

One woman, who was among the many affected by the demolition, said that while closing her shop one evening, she encountered thugs hired by the private developer to erect the barrier.

“There was a lorry filled with iron sheets, and the area was barricaded with iron sheet. On the following day, those who had their stuffs inside started to remove the barrier),” affected lady who did not want to be revealed said.

The person who was the caretaker of the area refused to share any information about the owner and the eviction of businesses that were on the disputed land.

“The owner has not given me the authority to say anything. He is not around. So it is very difficult to do something like that, the authority comes from him. You can’t get all the information from us because we are just taking care of this premise,” the caretaker said.

An attempt to reach out to the Acting County Secretary, who is also the Chief Officer in charge of Planning for clarification on the ownership of land and who authorized the development on the same piece didn’t bare any fruit.

Nairobi South Member of County Assembly Waithera Chege has since launched a petition over the matter, saying the residents might never leave to see a market in her ward if the land is fully grabbed.

In her petition signed by the residents, the MCA said the land at the Makuti area is a public land which had been earmarked by the government for construction of a modern market.

“That the modern market would benefit resident mostly by increasing employment opportunities, increasing quality of production, creating an environment for health competition and increasing consumer status,” part of petition reads.

The petition sought the attention of the County Assembly to intervene and ensure that the land is claimed back to the public.

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