Take back all grabbed city land
Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau has taken office with an undertaking to recover all grabbed land that had been earmarked for infrastructure.
Kamau, who is in charge of Transport and Infrastructure, is acutely aware of the scandals and controversies over road reserves and other public utilities.
As permanent secretary in the Ministry of Roads before, he perfectly understands the issues and is therefore best suited to resolve them.
In the past, unscrupulous brokers and wheeler-dealers were allowed to grab public land and get fake titles, which they used to sell the land to unsuspecting developers while others converted them into private properties.
The net result was encroachment on public land, making it difficult to expand or put up new utilities.
Take Nairobi, for example. The construction of the Eastern by-pass that starts from Mombasa Road to Ruiru has stalled because some people had been given titles next to the highway and are now forcing the government to compensate them at exorbitant prices.
Also, the Southern by-pass that links Mombasa Road to Lang’ata and Dagoretti is progressing painfully slowly because part of the road reserve was excised and given to private developers who put up highrise buildings.
The planned expansion of Ngong Road, infamous for its traffic grid lock has also been stalled by similar cases of people in authority taking land that is reserved for expansion. Now investors lined up for the construction of the roads are forced to wait as the government tries to sort out the mess.
Since the economy cannot grow without massive expansion of infrastructure, and given that government departments have details about their illegally acquired land, they should repossess them.
We encourage Kamau to push his teams to recover all that grabbed land.