Residents of Buru Buru, Nairobi County, on Thursday, staged protests after getting wind that the government is planning to seize a 25-acre piece of land to construct affordable houses.
The locals took to the streets complaining that they had been barred from paying land rates and would later, while speaking to journalists, demand to be issued title deeds to the land to serve as proof of ownership, insisting that they had occupied the land for decades.
“When they barred us from paying the rates, it was an indicator that our land was up for grabs. We want the governor to know that we are ready to pay the rates,” one of the residents stated.
They pointed fingers at the local government and the area Member of the County Assembly (MCA) accusing them of working with brokers to steal their land.
A screengrab of Buru Buru residents protesting on Thursday, February 8 2024
According to the residents, county government officials informed them of a scheduled demolition at the end of the month.
They called upon Governor Johnson Sakaja’s administration, currently working with the national government on the project, to allow them to pay the land rates and prevent the looming evictions.
Additionally, they revealed that this was not the first attempt to take over part of the land. Earlier, an unknown individual tried to grab a local church before the residents intervened.
“Often someone tries to sell this land, now we were told that at the end of the month, they will be constructing the affordable houses. We ask to be given title deeds, we are tired of being asked for money,” another resident remarked.
The piece of land in question hosts residential houses, shops, and social amenities like schools and a church. If demolished, affordable houses will be built on the piece of land in line with President William Ruto’s legacy plan.
On Tuesday, Members of Parliament raised concerns over the government taking over public land for the houses.
Members of the Departmental Committee on Housing, Urban Planning and Public Works, and the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning called for the amendment of the Affordable Housing Bill, 2023.
The MPs noted that Kenyans had questioned the loophole that may see some lose their land for the project. They suggested introducing compensation to all affected landowners.
The living room of a housing unit in the Bondeni Affordable Housing Project in Nakuru County on Monday February 13, 2023