Where armed gang rules land ownership matters

Some of the houses that were demolished on a disputed land in Umoja III estate in Nairobi. Rival armed groups have laid claim on the land. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The cartels then provide protection at a fee and resist any move of reclamation by the legally registered land owners. Some of the buyers, our sources say, are aware that the land is illegally acquired but are assured that they will not be evicted. Others are, however, unsuspecting victims lured by a good deal.
  • One common rule is that buyers should not leave the land idle but must put up a structure immediately. In some instances, there are double allocations, especially when a buyer delays to develop the property.  
  • To complicate the situation, there are indications that police officers, county government officials and politicians also benefit from such illegally acquired land in exchange for protection — fuelling a cycle of disputes that sometimes turn violent and take an ethnic slant.    

A yellow placard in the middle of a fiery demonstration last week along Nairobi’s Kangundo Road stood out: “Kiambu Dandora Farmer’s Company Limited, Umoja III is not your colony,” it screamed in protest over harassment by suspected land grabbing gangs.

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