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Police stole our houses, says women group

A group of women embroiled in an ownership dispute with the police over a housing estate in Lang’ata area are seeking government intervention to end the impasse.

Wilson Mitumba Women Group claim the West Park police staff quarters are their houses which were forcefully snatched.

However, the police also lay claim to the houses saying they were built by the government, which holds the title to the property.

The women claim the 115 maisonettes and 42 flats at the centre of the dispute can accommodate 595 families.

Built for them

Group treasurer Cecilia Wanjiru says the houses were built for them by some American women after the demolition of slum houses they owned on Mombasa Road in 1985 to pave way for development.

Ms Wanjiru claimed that former President Moi had tasked a Permanent Secretary to look for land for the women to construct the houses.

“The piece of land was found, it was subdivided and we settled in the current place in 1987. It was a bushy area. The American women gave us Sh1.1 billion for the building of the houses,” said Ms Wanjiru.

She added that construction of the houses stopped when they were almost complete and the women decided to occupy them during the El Nino rains in 1998.

Trouble, they said, began when they allowed a police officer attached to Wilson airport to rent one of the houses in the estate.

They claimed the officer brought some of his colleagues who also rented the houses, but after some time they began skipping paying rent.

“We used to charge them Sh5,000 per month, the money went to the group’s kitty,” said Ms Wanjiru, adding the officers stopped paying the rent in 2002.

The women claimed that in 2005, a group of police officers in anti-riot gear descended on the estate and started evicting the women claiming the houses belonged to them.

“They arrested some of the members together with their children and took them to Lang’ata Police Station,” said Ms Wanjiru.

The women some seemingly over 60 years claimed that was the end of their occupation of the houses.