Squatters living in over 1,000 acres parcel of land in Ruai are spending the holiday season in the cold after their homes were demolished in an eviction exercise.
As many as 5,000 people were affected when a group of armed youth accompanied by more than 400 police officers and bulldozers ignored a court order and pulled down structures on the private land.
The eviction was enforced just a week after a court order restrained defendants in the Ruai land case from interfering with the current inhabitants.
Through Lady Justice Gacheru on December 18, the inhabitants obtained a court order stopping the demolition until a case on the land in dispute is determined.
“Exparte injunction orders be and are hereby issued restraining the defendant from interfering with the quiet enjoyment of their suit premises being parcel L R 12979/1 in Ruai Area in Nairobi,” reads Justice Gacherus’ order.
A further 14 days restrain was put against any demolition by the respondent James Gitundu , Customs Homes Holding, Edwin Mubia Gitundu, Catherine Kigotho and Eric Kiarie Njenga.
But the hundreds of families woke to a rude shock when bulldozers brought down their structures they called home.
The residents say, in 1999, then President Daniel Moi allocated them ( squatters) land in Ruai area after deliberations of the City Council of Nairobi (CCN) chaired by then Mayor Sammy Mbugua.
“From the time of demolition and during the Chrismas season, we have been in the cold as we have no other place to call home,” said Abdi Fugicha, a resident.
A walk in the site, we meet Harrison Kiragu and Simon Kanyaru who showed The Standard On Saturday a copy of the minutes of the ordinary monthly meeting of the CCN held on September 14, 1999.
The CCN approved settlement of former workers of the Embakasi Ranching Company and other Ruai squatters on the parcel of land plot No 12979/1 which is near the sewerage plant in Ruai.
In 2008, another attempted eviction was resisted, but this week, a team of armed policemen who invoked names of well-known politicians came to the land with bulldozers.
On Tuesday, a forthright former Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu who has been on the frontline to defend the land rights of the less privileged took a dramatic twist when he defended the eviction.
Waititu said: “The land they are talking about is different from the one they were evicted from. Read the Map and get facts accurately as misreporting can land you a Sh1 Million fine under the new media law.”
“That land is big, over 1,600 hectares, the government cannot err to evict people in the broad day light illegally,” Waititu said in a phone call response.