Nairobi News

General

Identify and punish officers in land grabbing rot

The size of the land chaos in Nairobi has been exposed yet again during a session between the County Accounts Committee and senior county government officials.

The man in charge of the lands docket at City Hall, Mr Stephen Mwangi, confirmed to the watchdog committee that more than 350 pieces of prime land and property were irregularly allocated to powerful individuals.

He added that the majority of the plots that have been grabbed belong to public schools, clinics and welfare halls or were reserved for the development of the city’s roads.

An exclusive report seen by NairobiNews reveals the grabbers colluded with highly placed figures in successive regimes at the defunct City Council. The beneficiaries of these public plots read like the who’s who in the city’s political and business circles, suggesting the high level political connections involved in the plundering of public resources.

Worryingly, the county government does not seem to have any clear cut action plan to get back the grabbed land.

Instead, it is relying on the National Land Commission to help establish the status of the grabbed land before it can decide what action to take to recover it.

It is an elaborate process which will entail the county government surveying all its properties before reconciling its records with those of the National Land Commission.

Any surrender of grabbed land will have to be through the commission, which will hand it over to the county government.

This will take time, probably months.

Yet the county government believes that this is the easier and faster way to go if it is to recover the grabbed land, as opposed to court action with all its complexities.

The impression we get is that records at county hall are not sufficient to help in identifying the grabbed plots and the culpable officers, hence the need to commission a whole new survey.

Such is the rot in the lands department at City Hall under successive regimes that the Kidero administration must move fast to address.

The county administration must also streamline the land adjudication process to avoid a repeat of such excesses.

More importantly, the county must not just stop at recovering the land and property; but it is essential that it punishes both the grabbers and those at City Hall who aided and abetted this rot.