Ukambani leaders to President Ruto: Stop evictions on disputed land

Mavoko MP Patrick Makau

Mavoko MP Patrick Makau pleads with police officers during the demolition of houses on land claimed by East African Portland in Mavoko, Machakos County on Saturday, October 14.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Demolition of homes started on Friday, six days after squatters lost court case to Portland Cement firm.
  • Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka says he will appeal the case, terms the eviction a crime against humanity.
  • The move left dozens of residents counting losses running into millions of shillings. The bulldozers protected by heavily armed police officers also demolished churches.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and other Ukambani leaders yesterday called on President William Ruto to stop the ongoing demolitions at a parcel of land in Athi River, which is claimed by both the East African Portland Cement Company Limited and a section of Machakos residents.

On the second day of the demolition supervised by heavily armed police officers, Mr Musyoka led a section of Wiper politicians in the county in touring the affected area before flying to Machakos Governor Wavinya Ndeti’s office in Machakos Town.

“We are sending a message; stop the nonsense. Stop the eviction. It is a crime against humanity. What will happen to the children in the affected homesteads if it rains today?” Mr Musyoka said in a terse message directed to President Ruto.

The demolitions started on Friday, six days after the Environment and Lands Court sitting in Machakos ended the protracted land dispute by ruling in favour of the cement manufacturing firm.

The move left dozens of residents counting losses running into millions of shillings. The bulldozers protected by heavily armed police officers also demolished churches.


A bulldozer demolishes a house on East African Portland Cement property on October 13, 2023. 

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

The leaders were almost roughed by the GSU officers when they tried to address the dejected victims near the site.

The officers lobbed teargas canisters to disperse the surging crowd, not sparing the leaders who cut short their impromptu visit.

“No meeting will be held here. Disperse immediately. Officers, take charge!” A commander shouted before the officers began advancing towards the crowd that scampered for safety in the open fields.

Journalists were also asked to leave before the officers condoned the entire area as bulldozers rolled, rousing clouds of dust as buildings tumbled down.

Homes on Portland Cement land demolished after Ruto directive on land grabbers

Governor Ndeti broke down as she accused President Ruto of ordering the demolition. She said it was unfortunate that the destruction of palatial homesteads and churches had raged on even after Dr Ruto had assured her that it would stop.

“You have not seen my tears before. He will pay for it. He will pay for my tears because my people cannot suffer when they are innocent. We cannot allow you to bring down churches. The church should pray hard so that God speaks to this person,” Ms Ndeti said amid sobs.

“I spoke to President Ruto in the morning and he referred me to his deputy, who was out of reach. This is inhumane. It’s a dark day for the Kamba community.”

Mavoko MP Patrick Makau accused the government for orchestrating a scheme to evict hundreds of squatters to allocate the same land to few individuals.

“We have a list of individuals who have been allocated the land. We are pleading with President Ruto to order the demolition to be stopped. Most people have been left homeless,” said Makau.

The prime land in question, LR.No 10424, located along Mombasa Road, South of Athi River Township measuring approximately 4,298 acres has been a centre of dispute between the giant cement maker and the squatters who started invading the land after EAPC finished its mining operations on the parcel about 10 years ago.

Through ELC case No.74 of 2014 as consolidated with Petition No.10 of 2018, Aimi Ma Lukenya Society officials had sued EAPCC seeking declaration of ownership and permanent injunction against the cement processor from dealing with the land until the matter is fully heard and determined.

According to court documents, the Society had produced a fake title deed with entry No. 7 claiming that the land was transferred to Aimi Ma Lukenya Society on May 20, 1980 when the society was not in existence since records at the Registrar of Societies show that the Society was registered on September 25,2014.

In her ruling, Presiding Judge Lady Justice A. Nyukuri noted that the plaintiff had failed to physically serve the amended pleadings to all the Defendants within 21 days as ordered by the court on May 17, 2023.

“This matter will be canvassed in the highest court of the land,” Mr Musyoka said as he directed Ms Ndeti to ensure that Machakos County is enjoined in the appeal.