South Africa

Kenya: Churches, Politicians, NGOs Top Grabbers 'List of Shame'

Churches, politicians, local tycoons, and non-governmental organisations top the list of shame in an audit report in Nyandarua County, where thousands of acres of public utility land has been lost to grabbers.

The report, compiled by a task force formed by Governor Francis Kimemia, reveals widespread grabbing, with influential businessmen and companies going on a land acquisition spree, most of them appearing on almost every page of the 43-page document.

Among the illegally acquired land include tens of acres belonging to the Ministry of Education and allocated to a Mr Mbira Kabocha and Approtek Limited.

Hospital Primary School's four acres was allocated to Busy Holdings Limited. The Anglican Church of Kenya together with Mr Joseph Ng'ang'a Wainaina, Ms Gladys Mutitu, and Ms Mary Wangechi King'ori are listed among those occupying land belonging to the Agricultural Society of Kenya show ground.

Part of the land belonging to Nyandarua Prison in Ol Kalou has also been grabbed. Other pieces of land subdivided to private owners are quarries where Foneterea Solutions Limited is one of the beneficiaries. Also on the list is politician-cum-businessman Peter Thinji Kiriga, who will contest the Rurii Ward by-election slated for next month on a Jubilee ticket and appears several times in the report, including for owning riparian land in Ol Kalou.

Ol Kalou Mutigio Women Group, Reach the Unreached Ministry, World Wide Gospel of Kenya, Body of Christ ,and several businessmen are listed as beneficiaries of cemetery land in Ol Kalou. Former Rurii MCA, the late John Mburu Githinji, is listed among those occupying a road reserve while Mr Njoroge Ndegwa is occupying land meant for a borehole in Ol Kalou.

The Church Commission of Kenya, Kindu Holdings, among others are in possession of land set aside for building houses for senior civil servants, while the Pentecostal Evangelical Fellowship of Africa (Pefa) church is a beneficiary of a road reserve. Mr Johnson Mwangi Muriu occupies two plots of land set aside to build homes for the elderly and children, while Agrarian Credit Services, which prominently features in the report together with Bussy Holdings, is allocated land set aside for a dumpsite. It shares the land with Apostolic Faith Church, Pefa church and other individuals.

Acting Lands Executive Raphael Njui says most of the landowners have genuine documents given to them by corrupt officials in the Lands and Local Authority ministries.

"We are determined to repossess all stolen public land that includes land for learning institutions, slaughterhouses, government offices, hospitals among others, but we want to have the alternative dispute resolution committee to handle the issue," said Mr Njui.

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