The late Billionaire Gerishon Kirima's two widows, Teresia Wairimu and Anne Kirima have won the almost decade-old case over the ownership of multi-billion land in Njiru, Nairobi County.
In a ruling delivered on Monday, Kisumu Environment and Lands Court Judge Samson Odhiambo Okong'o gave the 300 applicants laying claim to the land that once hosted Njiru Abbatoir until December 31, 2023, to vacate.
In a suit filed in September 2014, John Otieno Obade and 299 others argued that they were the rightful owners of the parcel, estimated at 80 acres, claiming that they acquired it through adverse possession.
Adverse possession means owning land by using it without permission for a long time, often leading to legal ownership rights.
Okong'o, however, concluded that the group could not lay ownership of the land.
"The plaintiffs in this suit have no valid claim over L.R No. 6825/2 (the Njiru area land)," read the ruling in part.
"To save them from forceful eviction from the property, I hereby give those of them who are in actual occupation of L.R No. 6825/2 up to and including 31st December 2023 to vacate and handover possession of the property to the estate of G.K.Kirima in default of which the estate shall be at liberty to evict them from the property."
In its suit, in which the two widows had been named respondents.
The complainants had also requested the court to allow them to subdivide the parcel amongst themselves.
In their submissions, they argued that they had lived on the parcel for more than 14 years and had 'uninterrupted, exclusive and continuous occupation' and made substantial developments on the property.
The plaintiffs argued that they only learned of the land's legal owner when they were served a copy of ownership on September 17, 2014. As such, they argued that they could not be evicted without being afforded alternative settlement and housing.
According to previous reports, the Kirima family made most of its wealth on the expansive piece of land which measures 500 acres.
During its heyday, the abattoir slaughtered hundreds of cattle a day but the business was almost extinguished by winding court battles and family wrangles.
“Due to family wrangles, business at the facility has deteriorated. For instance, the abattoir used to slaughter 300 cattle per day. However, the number had reduced to three cattle per day,” a 2014 report on the status of abattoirs stated.
“The abattoir is located on family land on which construction by private developers is being undertaken although the family has moved to court to seek an injunction stopping the ongoing developments."
Suits by two other parties, Kamatuto Self Help Group and Naridai Muoroto Self Help Group, which claimed the parcel was public land also lost their court cases.
Judge Okong'o also directed the two self-help groups to vacate the land before year-end.
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