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I’ll never buy land near Nairobi; 15 houses demolished following a land dispute in Syokimau, Nairobi,

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A man next to a demolished house after 15 houses were brought down following a land dispute in Syokimau, Nairobi, on February 4, 2013

He swears never to lay his hand on any piece of land in the city. Even if such land were being dished out free, he vows, he would not consider it, not even for a second.

Mr Brandan Mudaki on Monday recounted how Sh6.8 million he had invested in land had disappeared into thin air in a fraction of a minute.

“If this is what land is about in Nairobi, then I would rather go buy elsewhere. This is not a safe place to buy land any more,” Mr Mudaki said as he tried to pick himself up following the shock of losing his precious millions-worth home brought down at Syokimau estate.

He stood about 20 metres away from the property he was just putting finishing touches to, before he was told last week that it would be demolished. He could not bear the sight of the rubble.

Value money

Only his neighbours talked openly about the unfairness meted out on them by those who “valued money more than humanity”.

Mr Mudaki was among 15 home owners who found themselves on the wrong side of a land dispute arising from an unsettled payment.

And Mr Mudaki’s neighbour Anne Wairimu talked hysterically as she walked around the one-eighth piece of land she bought eight years ago. All her belongings had been destroyed in the early morning wave of demolitions.

“What do you want? Do you see what pain we are going through?” an infuriated Ms Wairimu shouted at journalists. She was held back by neighbours who asked her to cool down.

She said it was the most unfair thing she had experienced in her stay in Nairobi. “I just don’t know why such beastly things happen to good people all the time,” she said adding that she had fully paid for the land.

Another owner, Ms Alice Nangila just stared at her four children who sat around the bedding they managed to salvage when the earth mover came destroying their property.

“Do not ask me where they will stay tonight. I do not know,” she said.

The home owners were trying to pick useful stuff out of the rubble at around 2pm when the Nation visited.

The owners cursed those who demolished the houses. They also cursed the government for failing to protect them. They tried to seek intervention from local leaders but they said they closed the doors on them.

According to Mr Mudaki, the dispute pitted the person who sold them the land, a Mr Mwangi Waititu, and the previous owner, who he said was behind the demolition. He said Mr Waititu had promised to clear the remaining amount but had since gone silent on them since last week.

“We were told the dispute was in court and an order had been given to demolish the houses. But we were not enjoined in the case.

“We tried to seek an injunction when we realised this last Friday, but they came even before the injunction was heard,” Mr Mudaki said.

He added that they were not informed of the planned demolition on the five-acre piece of land in the estate that has been at the centre of land disputes in the recent years.

In 2011 a number of houses were brought down in the estate causing a nationwide uproar that prompted the government to order an investigation into the demolitions.-Nation

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