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Varsity expansion boosted after resolution of compensation stalemate

A dispute over the compensation of plot owners in Mutomo village of Gatundu South, Kiambu County to pave the way for the expansion of Mama Ngina University has been resolved after an agreement was reached between the parties.

In the deal brokered by the National Land Commission (NLC), each of the 190 property owners will receive a minimum of Sh10 million for their quarter-acre plots which have been acquired by the government.

The amounts will vary depending on the extent to which the property has been developed, with the highest amount to be paid per plot being Sh35 million.

NLC valuer and project team leader Doricah Buyaki said the deal was a breakthrough following months of stalemates and lengthy negotiations.

Addressing the press during the signing of the award agreement by the land owners at the University premises yesterday, Buyaki said the residents have between two weeks and one month to vacate the land.

He however said seven of the land owners who have disputed the deal and filed a case in court claiming there was no public participation were not part of the settlement pact.

The chairman of the area land owners Harun Gacheru termed the move as a big milestone and a relief to the beneficiaries who would now be in a position to acquire alternative land.

Gacheru called on the beneficiaries not to waste the compensation money, but rather use it to acquire land elsewhere and resettle as well as to improve their livelihoods.

“I will now be able to buy some other piece of land and put up commercial buildings and invest the rest of the money. We know the land we have given out is prime land but the compensation is worth it,” said Peter Ndichu, a beneficiary.

While terming it a blessing in disguise, Ndichu said the establishment of the university would improve the provision of quality education and trigger economic growth in the area.

Peninnah Wangari pleaded with the NLC to give them more time to vacate the land.

The settlement of the impasse will allow the institution which is a constituent college of Kenyatta University to occupy about 50 acres for expansion purposes.

The institution was constructed in 2019 on a 10.3-acre piece of land and the 40 acres will be a boost to one of the new universities in the country.

Those opposed to its expansion said it was hard to leave their ancestral land where they have buried their relatives.

“We have buried more than 100 relatives in this area and being told to go despite the compensation means we have to exhume their remains and open old wounds,” they argued.

By Muoki Charles

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