Court blocks planned sub-division of Kenyatta University land

Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and Kenyatta University Vice-chancellor Paul Wainaina.

Photo credit: File and Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

A judge has blocked any planned sub-division of Kenyatta University’s land pending the determination of a petition filed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK).

Justice Oscar Angote further restrained the government from harassing officials of the university in a bid to enforce a cabinet decision, directing the institution to cede part of its land to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Justice Angote granted the order barring the university’s council from surrendering title documents of the contentious land as directed by the head of public service Joseph Kinyua. He directed the case to be heard on July 27.

Through senior counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi, the LSK said the chairman of the university council Prof Shem Migot-Adholla highlighted the constitutional and statutory anomalies in the process of acquiring KU’s land but declined to surrender the title deed.

He further said that a letter by Mr Kinyua to the vice chancellor Prof Paul Wainaina directing him to surrender the titles. “The vice chancellor has since resigned due to the pressure,” he said.

According to the applicants, the government has never called for public participation or asked the public to raise issues on the compulsory acquisition.

“Unless this court certify the matter as urgent and address the plea of the applicant, the directives made by the respondent will crystalize and the rights of the applicant will be greatly compromised,” Mr Abdullahi said.

Activist moves to court

This comes after an activist moved to court on Friday July 15 morning in a bid to block plans by the government to hive off part of the university’s land for allocation to WHO or squatters.

In case he filed under certificate of urgency, Mr Enock Aura says that Kenyatta University’s land is not idle or available for allocation as it was set aside for education purpose and therefore constitutes protected land.

The institution’s Vice Chancellor Prof Paul Wainaina was sacked and the university’s council suspended this week after he refused to surrender title deeds of the land as directed by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. 

Other than 30 acres earmarked for allocation to WHO, the government wants to hive off 190 acres to settle Kamae Squatters, 10 acres for the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and another 180 acres to the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital.

The activist argues that no public interest will be served by the unlawfully takeover. “The purported land user of the World Health Organisation Medical Emergency Hub will be incompatible with the grant user of the suit land designated for Kenyatta University,” he said in an affidavit.

His lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui says it is illegal for the government to commit a fund of $5 million (approximately Sh600 million) for the illegal investment.

The activist further reveals that the alleged squatters cannot be given land because a judgment issued last year by the Environment and Land court dismissed a case filed by hundreds of squatters. In the decision, the court noted that the squatters had already been allocated 30 acres as per a list of 1984. 

“An expressly unconstitutional and illegal purported alienation of about 410 acres of the suit land belonging to Kenyatta University under Article 62(1) of the constitution is imminently about to occur unless this court intervenes,” Mr Aura said.

According to Mr Aura the decision by the Cabinet is illegal because there has been no public participation as required by the law.

“It would be manifestly ne ultra vires for the Kenyatta University Council to purport to, or be coerced under duress or such like threats and manipulative intimidation to cede part of the land,” he said. 

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