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Judge halts eviction of Ruai squatters

A High Court Judge on Monday issued a temporary injunction stopping the eviction of squatters from a 4,000 acre piece of land in Nairobi’s Ruai area.

Hundreds of squatters had been rendered homeless on November 18 following forceful eviction that left one of them dead.

Lady Justice Pauline Nyamweya issued the temporary order after it emerged that there was no court order authorizing the eviction.

The squatters had moved to court to stop the developers, Renton Company limited and Customs Homes holdings, from evicting them from the land.

“The applicants shall not be evicted or their occupation of the property be interfered with… in light of the fact that the eviction was carried out without a court order, the respondents clearly brought it (order) against themselves,” the Judge said.

The lawyer representing the squatters told the court certain powerful individuals were attempting to possess the land by kicking out the squatters extra-judicially.

Both parties have laid claim of the land, with the squatters swearing affidavits to the effect that the City Council allocated them the plot in 2001, while the developers have annexed title deeds dating back to 1996 also sanctioned by City Hall.

The case has a three year history at the Milimani law courts and has been previously shifted between two trial chambers.

On Monday, Justice Nyamweya after issuing the injunction sent the litigants back for a full hearing before the trial court where the case has been pending.

Parties were ordered to prepare in the next 21 days for the hearing.

“We have been unable to get a hearing date since September. Meanwhile the defendants moved on the property, carried out demolitions and are in the process of erecting a perimeter wall as we speak,” lawyer Julius Juma told the court.

A lawyer appearing for the developers, Renton company limited and Customs Homes holdings, said he was apprehensive the order may lead “fresh invasion on the by the over 1600 people who formerly occupied it.”