- The Standard
Residents of the Umoja Settlement scheme in Thika were relieved after the court suspended the planned demolition of their houses to pave way for the construction of a Ksh1.8 billion bypass.
The bypass would connect Thika-Garissa and Nairobi-Nyeri highways through the Delmonte farm.
Justice Lucy Gacheru of the Environment and Land Court suspended the demolitions pending hearing and determination of a case filed by the residents against Kenya Urban Roads Authority(KURA).KURA officials hold a pre-bid site meeting for the rehabilitation of the 3-kilometer Kasarani -Mwiki Road on February 18, 2020.
“If KURA is allowed to demolish and institute and forcefully remove the petitioners, there is no doubt that the petitioners will suffer prejudice as their efforts to recover the suit property will be next to impossible if indeed the court is to find that their rights were violated,” Justice Gacheru stated.
Through their advocate Ng’ng'a Njoroge, the residents argued that the defunct Municipal Council of Thika gave them the plots after it relocated them from Madharau area.
The council then gave the residents the disputed land with a letter of allotment.
The residents argued that the land was previously reserved for a public cemetery before the council changed it to residential and provided evidence in court.
Njoroge informed the court that KURA issued the residents with 30 days notice and marked structures for demolition without following the history of the land.
However, the Ministry of Roads through Josiah Mwangi Wandurua insisted the petitioners encroached on the portion of the bypass.
“Prior to the commencement of the project, KURA conducted stakeholders forums and meetings and all relevant information were shared and queries resolved,” Mwangi stated.
Justice Gacheru noted the court was satisfied that if the plan is not suspended, the residents would suffer irreparable harm.Transport CS James Macharia, CAS Wavinya Ndeti and other officials during a press briefing on the transport protocols for public service transport at Transcom House, Nairobi on July 8, 2020.
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