Christine Lonah during an interview on October 25, 2023, at her home built on a section of the land owned by the family of the late city politician Gerrishon Kirima. She is among 1,000 people asked to vacate by December 31

| WILFRED NYANGARESI| Nation Media Group

Woman who lost houses in Mavoko caught up in Kirima land saga

In a span of one week, Ms Christine Lornah has lost what she has invested in the last 21 years, with the demolition that took place in Mavoko, Athi River Sub-County and a recent ruling that squatters living in Njiru, Embakasi East should vacate by December 31, 2023 or they be forcefully evicted.

The Nation caught up with Ms Lornah at her home in Njiru, where she sadly narrated how she was shocked when she learnt that the parcels of land that she had in Mavoko were not genuine and that they belonged to the East African Portland Cement Company (EAPCC).

Christine Lonah displays certificates of some of her pieces of land during an interview on October 25, 2023, at her home built on a section of the land owned by the family of the late city politician Gerrishon Kirima. She is among 1,000 people asked to vacate by December 31

Photo credit: WILFRED NYANGARESI| Nation Media Group

Thousands of locals who had settled and even built houses there saw their properties demolished, following a court ruling in Machakos that the land belonged to EAPCC.

In yet another blow, the mother of four is amongst 1,000 squatters who were on Monday ordered to vacate the piece of land owned by the late billionaire Gerishon Kirima.

“I am inside this house and cannot believe that in the next few days, I will no longer be here because I was duped into purchasing a plot on land that belonged to someone else. How I wish they can give us a platform to share with them and make an agreement on how to pay them as long as they let me go on living here,” Ms Lornah said.

She narrated that she purchased the piece of land in Njiru in 2015 and quickly started building because she was tired living in a rented house. She bought the land from a seller who urgently needed money to sort out a medical bill.

According to her, when she purchased the land, the seller advised her to start building a house because someone else might grab the land.

“At the time I was living in Kariobangi in a two-bedroom house and the idea of owning my house was pushing me. I never hesitated and started the construction,” she said.

Her only plea is that the dwellers of the estate should be allowed to have a meeting with Mr Kirima’s family for an amicable solution to be reached.

She said that she took loans to build her house and losing it just because someone conned them from purchasing land would be a big loss.

According to her, she moved into her house even before the construction was complete and she has been furnishing it while staying inside.

“I had only completed building the kitchen and the bathroom fully. This house did not have the windows when I started living in it,” she said.

Two weeks ago, Ms Lornah also fell victim of a forceful eviction and ended up losing four parcels of land that cost her Sh1 million in Mavoko Sub-County in Machakos.

She narrated that in 2019, a close friend had put up a post on his social media accounts showing that he had purchased a parcel of land in Mavoko and she got interested to also purchase land there.

Armed with the certificates of the four plots which she said cost her Sh1 million, Ms Lornah said it was absurd that she no longer owned the parcel of land.

“I am really disappointed, I had invested on this land and was about to put up rental houses when the ruling came out that the land belonged to EAPCC. It is really sad that these certificates are now pieces of paper,” Ms Lornah said.

Demolished houses

Demolished houses that were built on Portland Cement land in Mavoko, Machakos County, on October 17, 2023. 

Photo credit: Bonface Bogita | Nation Media Group

“The sellers did not put pressure on me when I was purchasing the land, they gave me a payment plan that was manageable and it is for that reason I decided to add more land,” she said.

Asked whether she carried out research before purchasing the land in Mavoko, Ms Lornah said that everything was okay until she heard of the court ruling.

Ms Lornah said that life was really hard when she was growing up and one of the reasons she decided to invest in property was to ensure that her children live a better life compared to hers.

“I am the only child of my mother, my father died when I was seven years old and life became very difficult. My mother had to go back to her native home and that is where I was brought up by my grandmother,” she said.

She said that at some point, she could work in farms to raise money that she used in purchasing books and school uniforms.

When she came to the city, she says she started working as a sales person and used the salary to join a tertiary college where she studied human resource.

Ms Lornah said that the only parcel of land that she now has hope in, is one acre in Moi’s Bridge, Trans Nzoia County which she purchased for her mother.

She has appealed to President William Ruto to assist the families in Njiru so that their houses are not demolished.

“The President once said that under his government, no houses will be demolished, we really request him to intervene. It will be a big loss not only to me but the thousands who also reside here,” Ms Lornah said.