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Artisans protest over scheme to grab public land

Jua Kali artisans in Gatuanyaga area in Thika West Sub County have protested over a scheme by a prominent businessman to grab public land of the Ministry of Industrialization that they had been allocated to work from.

They said the developer in the wee hours of yesterday night dumped a 40 feet long container with the intention to put up rental shops, displacing most of them from their work places.

Led by Gatuanyaga Juakali Artisans Association Chair Stephen Kihereko, they said the businessman claimed ownership of the land, saying someone sold it to him some years back despite failing to prove ownership.

A container that has been dumped in a piece of land belonging to the Ministry of Industrialization in Gatuanyaga area, Thika West Sub County that is allegedly being grabbed by a prominent businessman.

“We have worked from here since 1990 and then someone comes from nowhere with a container to claim ownership of the piece of land. This land feeds over 50 families and we won’t give it out,” he said.

Gatuanyaga MCA Joseph Kahira said through local administration, they will establish who sold the land, and ensure action is taken against them.

“He has been instructed to stop further development of the land until he provides documentations to prove ownership. Again, we shall hunt down those who sold the land to him, since this is a public land,” said the MCA.

Cases of land grabbing in Thika have been on the rise with local administrators and leaders raising alarm and warning residents to be careful when doing land transactions.

Two months ago, Thika MP Patrick Wainaina working with local administrators repossessed a plot belonging to the Kenya National Library Services that had been grabbed by unknown individuals in Thika’s Section 9 estate.

The MP attributed the increased land fraud to corrupt land officials who colluded with businessmen to defraud people of their land. He warned land officials who were colluding with fraudsters to give out fake title deeds or double allocate land that their days were numbered.

Residents too have decried the increased cases, with several left landless and homeless due to the fraudsters and several land buying companies that sell the same piece of land to several buyers.

By Muoki Charles

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