Govt Demolishes Houses Worth Ksh1B, Protest Ensues

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    An NYS lorry ferries the remains of demolished houses inSagana, Kirinyaga County on Friday, September 25, 2020
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  • The government commenced its plan to demolish houses worth over Ksh 1 billion located on a controversial stretch of land in Sagana, Kirinyaga County. 

    On Friday, September 25, area businessmen lamented that they woke up to a surprise after the National Youth Service officers began fencing half of the town claiming the traders had encroached on the land belonging to the Kenya Railways Service

    Area residents alleged that the government did not issue them with an eviction notice prior to commencing with its demolition plan. 

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    NYS officers construct a fence on a controversial land in Sagana, Kirinyaga County on Friday, September 25, 2020
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    They also claimed that they legally bought the land, and that they had title deeds and lease documents to prove. 

    "Over 100 houses will be demolished. This means that over 300 families will be affected. Nearly 30 business people legally own the lands as both residential and business areas," Warui Kahiga, the chairperson of the traders lamented.

    "The County Government assured us that these lands do not belong to any corporation. It even showed us the landmarks where we should settle from and it further built a road to demarcate where the railway land reaches. Now look at how they are destroying our property," another trader added. 

    NYS officers could be seen building concrete walls to protect the government land from the traders who most lamented will sleep in the cold at night. 

    Kenya Railways submitted about 500 cases of land grabbing to investigative agencies in January 2019. It alleged that the lands had been acquired irregularly and illegally. 

    The authority told Parliament that it was working in tandem with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to conduct investigations into land allocated to third parties with the aim of recovery.

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    NYS officers spotted in Sagana, Kirinyaga County on Friday, September 25, 2020
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    In February 2020, Managing Director Philip Mainga warned those who had encroached to vacate the lands, adding that demolition of illegal structures was underway, chiefly targeting prime parcels of land within Nairobi metropolitan areas.

    “As per the notice issued in September 2019, we inform members of the public that reclamation of illegally acquired railway land and property (houses) is currently ongoing,” he stated.