A group of matatu operators in Nyahururu, flanked by area residents, held protests aimed at blocking a businessman from putting up a building near a bus stage.
The protestors, who stormed the town on Saturday, accused the unnamed businessman of grabbing the public land that served as a matatu terminus.
On the parcel, the private developer is said to have started the construction of a commercial building without seeking appropriate approvals.
The angry protesters then stormed the site and demolished some of the structures that had already been put up.
An aerial view of Nyahururu Town in Laikipia County.
“What we are saying is we do not want a repeat of this. This is a stage and we we refuse to accept (the land grabbing). We shall protect public property,” lamented one of the protesters identified as Samwel Wandeto.
Another protester, Irene Wachuka, challenged the businessman to ask for his money back from the county government officials insisting that the public was hell-bent on making sure the matatu stage remains intact.
“You know you demolished the stage claiming you want to set up your own thing. We maintain that you will not grab this,” she stated.
“If you bribed some people for the project, you should ask them for your money back because this is public property.”
A recent land injustices report released by the National Crime Research Centre has shown that Laikipia County where Nyahururu is ranks among the top 10 counties in Kenya with unresolved succession land disputes.
Vihiga recorded the highest percentage at 81.2%, followed by Nyamira at 70.6%, Busia at 63.2%, Nandi at 60.0%, and Laikipia at 36.8%.
The accusation comes a week after the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) moved to court to recover approximately 18 acres of land reportedly hived off of Kibuye Market in Kisumu.
At the time, EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak noted that the land valued at Ksh2 billion had been grabbed and the perpetrators offered to sell it back to the state.
“We have got all the relevant documents relating to the said parcels from the Ministry of Lands. Subsequently, several people recorded statements and with all the evidence, we filed the suit in court,” he told the press.
EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak speaks during a meeting on high-impact investigations, asset recovery, and partnerships on March 1, 2023.