Nakuru War Memorial Hospital
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Fights rob shine from Nakuru’s War Memorial Hospital

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The entrance to the Nakuru War Memorial Hospital in Nakuru City.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The once-thriving healthcare institution next to the Nakuru State House, the Nakuru War Memorial Hospital now stands desolate amid a bitter ownership dispute.

What was once a beacon of medical excellence serving the needs of patients from Nakuru county and beyond has become a symbol of legal turmoil and administrative tussles.

For decades, the facility provided vital medical services to the community, with a reputation for excellence and commitment to patient care making it the hospital of choice for many, including civil servants from various government agencies such as the Kenya Revenue Authority, Geothermal Development Company, and the Kenya Defence Forces.

A recent visit by the Nation revealed the hospital’s once-bustling halls and wards are now empty and silent for the last three months.

Most of the buildings are abandoned with the main gate remaining closed with all the signage indicating the name of the hospital repainted white.

Patients who once relied on the hospital for medical treatment were forced to seek alternative healthcare, adding to their hardship and uncertainty.

Currently, a new perimeter wall has been erected around the hospital allegedly by the county government leaving no room for anyone to see the happenings inside the compound.

Nakuru County askaris restrict patients from accessing the War Memorial Hospital on January 22, 2024. 


While police claim to be unable to disperse the goons it is not clear how those who put up the perimeter wall managed to work without interference raising the questions on who the mob is working for.

Mr Kamau Chomba the lawyer representing the hospital said the hospital remains inaccessible.

“My clients have not been able to access the hospital though we can see that they have erected a perimeter wall. At the moment, we can only wait to raise the issues on April 17 when the case will be mentioned,” he said.

The hospital matron Patricia Musale said equipment whose value cannot be ascertained is being vandalised by goons while drugs are expiring.

“We have just been watching from afar as they roam freely inside the hospital. We are wondering how the police are unable to send away the goons,” said Ms Musale.

Lawyer Steve Biko representing the county government said the county is doing everything possible to ensure that the property is safeguarded.

“Though the matter has not been brought to my attention I know my client is interested in ensuring that the property is well guarded even as we wait for the court to determine the ownership dispute,” said Mr Biko.

The row surrounding extension of the lease has seen the county government twice attempt to forcibly take over the management, a move that disrupted services.

The rwo centres around the extension of the hospital's lease and allegations of fraudulent acquisition of land titles, leading to a protracted legal battle that has left the hospital's future uncertain. This action resulted in the displacement of over 300 hospital workers and the closure of the facility, leaving patients without access to essential medical services.

Though things seem calm and silent, a bruising battle is being fought in the courts pitting the county government and the private management which has locked horns over ownership of the 26 acres of land.

The management has accused Nakuru county of illegally taking over the private property while the devolved unit has accused the hospital management of fraudulently obtaining lease extension of the land where the hospital sits and has had the directors arrested and charged.

That saga began in October 2023 when the county government announced its intention to take over the management of the hospital, citing irregularities in the lease extension process. According to the county government, the hospital's directors had fraudulently obtained a 50-year lease extension using forged documents.

In response, the county government moved swiftly to seize control of the hospital, deploying enforcement officers to effect the takeover.

The operation that was led by the County Secretary, Dr Samuel Mwaura.

According to Dr Mwaura the land had technically reverted back to the county government- the lawful custodians, after the expiry of 99 lease period given to the private management.

And with the announcement the county forcefully took over the running of the facilities and began transferring the patients into the public wing at the Nakuru Level five hospital Annex.

However, the management rushed to court for redress and successfully obtained orders restraining the county government from trespassing, transacting and interfering with the operations of the hospital pending hearing and determination that was filed.

A section of the War Memorial Hospital.  

But on January 18 the police announced arresting five people in connection with the fraudulent acquisition of the lease extension document for the hospital.

The five included two directors namely Simon Mwangi Watene and Rodger Joslyn, the Deputy Director Land Administrator at Arthi House Peter Nzuki Mutawa and Mr Stephen Kihenjo Mwaura the Assistant Director Land Administrator and another Mr Kipkenmboi Marindich.

Appearing before Nakuru Chief magistrate Elizabeth Juma on January 22, the five were jointly charged with fraudulent procurement of registration of a land document charges which they denied and were freed on bond.

And on the same night the county launched a second bid to take over the hospital claiming to safeguard the lives of the patient due to the vacuum in the management following the arrest of the directors.

However, the directors went back to court accusing the county of disobeying earlier orders.

Justice Millicent Odeny directed the Nakuru East sub county police boss Martin Wekesa to help in enforcing the orders the attempts by the officer to comply with the orders turned him into a casualty after he was transferred from the station.

The court then directed the county Police commander Samuel Ndanyi to affect the orders but twice the orders were disobeyed.

Frustrated, the judge opted out of the case handing it over to the Environment and Lands court judge Anthony Ombwayo.

The new judge also faced similar frustrations so he agreed to summon the county police boss to explain the challenges he was facing in enforcing the court orders.

Mr Ndanyi who appeared before court on February 1 after dodging the courts twice agreed to facilitate the private management to access the facility, which he did.

After he left goons invaded the premises and sent away all the hospital staff and management.

Nakuru War Memorial Hospital

The entrance to the Nakuru War Memorial Hospital in Nakuru City, which shares land with the Nakuru Level Five Hospital Annex. 

Photo credit: Francis Mureithi | Nation Media Group

The county police commander who was then summoned to appear before court said he was unable to disperse goons who had taken over the facility from the county askaris as the facility is near the Nakuru state house which is a protected area.

The officer said “Creating chaos to disperse the crowd would have been catastrophic.”

The judge who had had enough of the disobedience of the court orders also recused himself from the case and referred it to the registry in Nairobi. The ELC court however transferred the case to Nyandarua where it is currently being handled.