Settlers suffer blow as court declares Kirima as rightful owner of Njiiru land

A section of the land in Njiiru, Nairobi on 16th September 2014 owned by the family of the late city politician Gerrishon Kirima where buyers allegedly bought grabbed land. 

Photo credit: File

What you need to know:

  • Judge Samson Okong’o dismissed a claim by squatters who said they had lived on the land uninterrupted for more than 12 years.
  • Three group of squatters claimed the land and stated that they were entitled to the parcel through adverse possession. 

Hundreds of squatters who settled on more than 1,000 acre parcel of land in Nairobi’s Njiru area belonging to the family of former Starehe MP Gerishon Kirima were given up to December 31 to vacate the area or face forcibly eviction.

In a win to the Kirima family, which has been battling with illegal settlers on the land since 2003, Environment and Land Court judge Samson Okong’o dismissed a claim by squatters who said they had lived on the land uninterrupted for more than 12 years.

Three group of squatters claimed the land and stated that they were entitled to the parcel through adverse possession. 

Justice Okong’o, however, said the squatters entered the land without legal basis and started constructing houses.

“The plaintiff (Kirima family) has proved that the defendants did not obtain his consent before entering into his said parcels of land and commencing construction thereon. The defendants were in the circumstances, trespassers on the said parcels of land,” the judge said.

It was also a relief for another group of persons who genuinely purchased the land from the late Kirima before he passed on. 

The judge directed the administrators of the estate, the widow Teresia and daughter Anne Wangari to complete the sale of the properties and issue the purchasers with title deeds within 90 days.

They include Geoffrey Mungai, who purchased 14 parcels, Paul Ndung’u who bought several parcels, Victoria Technical Enterprises, Mr Isaac Mbugua and others.

The squatters were, however, not lucky as the judge said they did not even show how they arrived at the acreage they were claiming.

A group of 300 people led by John Otieno Obade, who used to work a nearby quarry claimed 80 acres, another group 1,310 people led by Stephen Maina under the Kamatuto self Help group claimed 160 acres while another under Naridai Muoroto Self-Help Group claimed 501 acres.

“There is no evidence as to when each of the 1,310 members of Kamatuto had occupied the suit property for a period of 12 years as at 2011 when they allegedly brought the present suit,” the judge said.

Also to be evicted from the expansive land are trustees of Comboni Missionaries who claimed to have purchased the land from Naridai Muoroto Self-Help Group. 

Evidence presented to court was that the family held two parcels of land L.R No5908/8 and L.R. No 6852/2, registered in the name of Gerishon Kamau Kirima. Part of the land was used as a slaughterhouse and an adjacent land was used a holding ground for cattle.

The squatters, however, claimed that they were given allotment letters by the defunct city council of Nairobi, while others sought to be given ownership through adverse possession.

They told the court that the land was surveyed and portions occupied by the various groups mapped out and delineated.

The squatters said they had occupied the land for more than 14 years uninterrupted and have made enormous developments on the property.

It was their argument that they only learnt of the ownership in 2014 after the succession case involving the estate of Kirima was filed. 

But Kirima family said they had filed more than five cases in court, the first one being in 2003, seeking orders to evict the dwellers.

The family said it developed a slaughterhouse and the family has been running it since the early 1970s. The property further had domestic workers’ quarters and with the death of Mr Kirima in 2010, the land became a target for land grabbers

Kamatuto self-help group said it was registered in April 2004 with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development. They were squatters who initially were excavating building stones on a portion measuring 160 acres and had an office in Mowlem area. 

They told the court that they learnt that the lease given to Mr Kirima expired in 2003, although he applied for an extension as they applied for allocation to the commissioner of lands.

Naridai Muoroto Scheme said the land belonged to the city council and being landless, they approached the government and were allocated 500 acres. The court heard that they were initially 215 members but the number increased to 2,000 people. 

They said they were allegedly issued with letters of allotment in 2009 and were in the process of acquiring title deeds before the attempts to evict them.

The Kirima family dismissed the claims saying the allotment letters were forgeries and they had continued paying rates to the county government.
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