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Two suspended for aiding in grabbing of public land

Lands Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome spoke after visiting the Lands offices in Thika

Lands Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome has suspended two officials for colluding with a private developer to hive off three acres of Thika Cemetery.

The two; Jane Hamisi and Olale have been colluding with other officials to issue fake documents from the Ministry.

Channel 1

Wahome made the pronouncement after visiting Thika Cemetery a day after a private developer started fencing off part of the 50 acres land that has over the years has been used as public Cemetery.

Land Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome revealed that government records indicate that the parcel is a public land and there are no records showing it has been transferred to an individual.

According to her, the persons claiming the land may have used fake documents to advance their grabbing scheme with the help of a few lands ministry officers whom the CS vowed to fire from next week.

Speaking after visiting the contentious land where sand sellers have been operating from, CS Wahome sent a stern warning to land officers working in cahoots with cartels to grab public land insisting that she will continue to discipline every officer found culpable of aiding such schemes.

There has been a standoff between a private developer and sand sellers over ownership of a 50-acre piece of land that has over the years been used as a public cemetery at Gatitu area of Thika Town in Kiambu County.

Wahome ordered police officers who have been manning execution of an order to evict sand sellers to leave the ground with immediacy insisting that claimants of the public land had adulterated documents.

She directed that the sand sellers be allowed to continue going about their businesses without interruption from any quota.
On her part, Thika MP Alice Wambui Ng’ang’a warned grabbers that they have no escape route as the current government is keen on restoring all illegally grabbed public property.

On Thursday, the undisclosed developer is said to have obtained a court order to eject the sand sellers from the premise whom he accuses of illegally, unlawfully and unrightfully entering and depositing sand on ‘his’ parcel of land, a yard they use for selling the sand to third parties.

But the sand sellers led by their chairperson Maina Mundia who camped at the site over 25 years ago had stated that they started as grave diggers and sellers of sand and concrete to mourners wishing to concrete the graves of their loved ones.

With time, Mundia said the over 300 sand sellers began to assemble building materials which they have been selling to builders.

The sand sellers, however, turned into celebrations following the announcement that they should continue doing their businesses from the land.

Led by Mundia, the small traders argued that despite the losses they have incurred since the eviction interruptions began, they will now go back to their business and will further aid in burying the terraces that had been dug by the developer who was planning to put up structures on it.

Tom Kimani
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