, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 20 – Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu, National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Muhammad Swazuri and Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero on Tuesday visited the Langata Road Primary school but none of them was willing to name the face behind the controversial grabbing of the institution’s play ground.
Ngilu and Swazuri said Airport View Housing Company have not furnished the NLC with documents as proof of ownership of the land and issued a stern warning that the government will demolish structures constructed on grabbed public land.
“This virus of land-grabbing whenever people in Nairobi and elsewhere just see land and they want to get in and erect walls to disadvantage other people really has got to stop,” Ngilu said as she directed all public institutions to liaise with the ministry to get valid title deeds.
The NLC chairman said a majority of public lands, belonging to public schools did not have title deeds thus becoming an easy target for land grabbers. The review will be done on February 9.
He said they will review the titles in a bid to know who the real owners of the housing company are and how they managed to get the prime property as the Nairobi City County had lodged a complaint about developments in the piece of property.
“We are still waiting for the title deeds from Airport View Housing Limited to know if they have genuine titles or not, we will give them a chance before we can come up with a decision,” Swazuri said.
According to preliminary investigation by the Lands Ministry, the school has been the legal owner of the two-acre piece of land since 1974.
The National Land Commission said on Friday that investigations by the officers from Lands Ministry unearthed two title deeds belonging to Airport View Housing Limited having been acquired in 1989 and 1994 though the titles are conflicting as one bears 0.6 hectares (approximately 1 acre) and 0.2 acres, translated to approximately below half an acre.
Nairobi Governor Kidero added that almost 60 percent of primary schools are facing the same problem.
In Nairobi we have 205 primary schools and 84 secondary schools and 60 percent of these schools have the same issue we are facing here. That is why we are working together with the ministry and the Commission so that we give title deeds to these schools and then make sure these schools are fenced to deter people who may want to fence off parts of it,” said the Governor.
Langata MP Joshua Olum, Nominated MP Johnson Sakaja and Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu have given the Registrar of Companies two weeks to unmask the officials behind Airport View Housing Company or they will name and shame them on the floor of the House.
“The custodian of the registration of companies is neither the NLC nor the Ministry, it is the Registrar of Companies under the Office of the Attorney General and that is where we want answers from,” he said.
Sakaja added: “But also we want to see what Mumo Matemu (chairman of the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission) and his Commission are doing, because this is blatant corruption, you don’t even need a court case. These people should be behind bars; who ever owned that company must be ready to answer what gave him the right or idea that they can put up a wall around public land, it is that simple. Once you start complicating things like that, that’s how it goes in this country and we never get to the root of this issues.”
They said the issue had been in the public domain since November and wondered why it took until Monday for officials to come out strongly to declare that the land belonged to the school.
The Head teacher of the school had written to the County Education Officer complaining of the encroachment by the unknown individuals a letter that was copied to City Hall, but no action was taken.