, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 7 – The Parliamentary Select Committee investigating the recent controversial government-sanctioned demolitions has tabled its report to Parliament and wants the residents of Kyang’ombe, Mitumba, Maasai, Kiambiu and Kitui villages restituted and resettled.
The team, under the leadership of Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi, noted that the residents were evicted without prior notice, despite acquiring titles that they believed were genuine.
However, the committee did not issue any such directive to persons who suffered losses in the wake of the demolitions in Syokimau and Biafra area of Eastleigh, simply asking the government “to consider” them.
During its investigations, Musyimi’s team discovered that the land in Syokimau indeed belonged to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after it was compulsorily acquired by the government for the development of the airport in 1971 and was therefore not available for allocation.
“It should be noted that the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has consistently issued notices to the public and occupiers of the land in Syokimau not to purchase the land and to vacate,” read the report in part.
The committee however found that the government did not follow laid down procedure while evicting those who had already pitched camp in Syokimau.
Further, the committee expressed concern that a court case regarding ownership of land in Syokimau had been pending since 2004 saying there was need to conclude it.
KAA was also faulted for carrying out the demolitions while there were two pending court cases.
“The eviction took place three days before the date of the next hearing and they undertook the eviction based on previous eviction notices, issued on September 5, this year, and there was a court order stopping their enforcement,” read the report.
The committee also called for the relocation of the Moi Airbase from its current location in Eastleigh.
The committee however noted that some of the buildings in Biafra and Eastleigh Section 3 were near the airbase and therefore posed a security threat.
They pointed out that the demolitions in this area were sanctioned by the City Council in conjunction with the Department of Defence.
“The committee recommends that if such demolitions are undertaken they must be done in accordance with Article 35 of the Constitution… to curb the arbitrariness exhibited in the demolitions,” read the report.
The MPs also criticised the government for failing to put in place sufficient warning systems to Kenyans informing them of the fake titles.
“The government has caused all the controversies surrounding land ownership in Syokimau and Uungani and they should be held responsible,” they said.
The 39-member team further observed that there was a tendency for files to mysteriously disappear from government records every time there was an investigation.
The committee ordered that an investigation be conducted to look into the matter.
It was also established that the residents of Syokimau bought their land from Mlolongo Brothers and Uungani Settlement Scheme who are alleged to have acquired forged land titles after colluding with lands officials.
“It was noted that a file showing payments made to the Ministry of Lands by Uungani Settlement Scheme and Mlolongo Brothers Association could not be provided to the committee,” noted the report.
It was also not clear where Syokimau lies as maps provided to the committee indicated that it was in Machakos County despite the fact that it was excised in 1971.
Moreover, the committee established that only a small part of Kyang’ombe village was on the flight path and that its demolition could have been instigated by private companies that allegedly own the land.
During the committee’s investigations, Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu claimed that the Prime Minister’s family and Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo were some of those who owned land in Kyang’ombe village.
“The demolitions went beyond the boundary of KAA and the flight path.
In addition the motive for the demolitions is not clear as some go-downs and buildings near the flight path were left intact,” noted Musyimi’s team.