Beneficiaries of the disputed piece of land in Komarock claim former President Daniel arap Moi gave them the parcel as a token of appreciation for their loyalty to the ruling party Kanu.
Members of Embakasi/Njiru United Self-Help Group, insist they are bona fide owners of the 20-acre piece claimed by businessman Mike Maina, the proprietor of Marble Arch hotel.
Several high-rise buildings were demolished last month after Maina obtained an eviction order that left hundreds of residents homeless when their houses were brought down by bulldozers under the watchful eyes of armed police officers.
The demolition was halted when President Uhuru Kenyatta intervened, directing investigations into the ownership.
Members of the self-help group insist they acquired the land through a presidential decree of 1997. The original members comprised Kanu delegates drawn from the seven wards of Komarock, Dandora, Ruai, Umoja, Mihang’o, Kariobangi South and Embakasi Airport.
Most of the current occupiers are either second or third party owners. They acquired the plots through willing seller, willing buyer agreements.
According to the secretary of the group, Meshack Ambuka, then Nairobi provincial commissioner Cyrus Maina advised them to settle there as squatters since individual lease title deeds would not be processed immediately.
“He advised us to occupy the land under the arrangement of informal settlement, then move to formal settlement through regularisation by Nairobi City Council,” says Ambuka, adding they were to occupy parcels L.R.NO. 22142, L.R.NO.22144, L.R.NO.11344/R, while Maina was left with L.R.NO.22143.
He says retired President Moi allowed them to settle on the land because of their unwavering support for Kanu.
“One of the reasons which made retired President Moi to issue a presidential decree for Embakasi delegates to have the land was because we were always summoned and available at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). Whenever President Moi travelled overseas, we were there to see him off. As he came back, we were always available to receive him,” says Ambuka.
Members claim Maina and his partner, only identified as Chege, sold off his parcel only to surface and start claiming their share using fake council and court documents.
They are appealing to President Uhuru to order the Ministry of Land to compel Maina to prove his ownership claim.
“The Embakasi Kanu sub-branch voted for him during the Kasarani delegates’ conference to the last man. This was only a day after he held a meeting with us at JKIA Resort Club while on his campaign trail. In return, he promised to secure the interest of all the delegates,” says Benard Maina, the chairman of the self-help group.