A man and his sister are counting losses after their mansions were brought down in the ongoing demolitions at the contested Portland Cement land in Athi River.
Speaking to the media on Saturday, Shem Mokua revealed that he had built a house in the same plot with the sister, with his one-storey mansion nearing completion.
Mokua learnt of the planned demolitions while at work on Friday, October 13, after his sister informed him that President William Ruto had ordered the eviction of homeowners from the controversial land.
Following the heartbreaking news, Mokua left work immediately with the aim of securing his home and property against the demolitions.
A collage of houses under demolition in contested East African Portland Cement (EAPC Plc) land in Machakos County on October 17, 2023.
However, upon arriving at the home, he found several bulldozers already effecting the President’s directive.
“They (demolishers) told us to move. If anyone delayed, they would just begin the demolitions with your property still in the houses. Police also chased away those who resisted.
“There was also a barrier with non-property owners prevented from gaining entry. There was also no cellular network. We tried to talk to the police but nothing bore fruit,” he detailed.
Mokua added that they also sought the intervention of local leaders who promised to reach out to Ruto over his orders. However, their efforts failed as the demolishers went on unperturbed.
The Athi River resident expressed his anguish over the demolitions, which plummeted his hope, noting that he was looking forward to owning his own home.
He further wondered why the government took such a firm stand in the demolitions, yet the issue would have been resolved through mediation or court.
“They are demolishing the houses without interrogating the source of our money. There are those who took out loans from banks.
“To make matters worse, the company has issued a notice announcing the sale of these lands. Why couldn’t they just come and talk to us to reach an agreement on the money to be paid?” he posed.
Mokua detailed that most of the residents were in the process of getting their title deeds and were still willing to pay for the land again.
Athi River demolitions in the over 900-acre land began on Friday, October 13, after Ruto directed land invaders to be evicted.
However, on Tuesday, October 17, Portland Cement revealed that it was willing to sell part of the land to Kenyans who had already settled in the contested land.
Lands under registration LR 8784/144, 8784/145 and 8784/653 were earmarked for the regularisation plan.
President William Ruto gives a speech during the centenary anniversary of Limuru Girls High School, Kiambu County, on May 20, 2023.