Hands off Our Public Lands!
Over the years, land has become a currency of political patronage among Kenya’s elites. Corrupt land transactions including the illegal and irregular transfer of title deeds by officials of the relevant authorities has become an all-too-common reality for Kenyans.
The Green Belt Movement continues to fight this type of threats to law and order in the country and the rate at which greedy and corrupt individuals are slowly taking over all open spaces. Listed below are a few of the public lands under siege:
- Residential development in Spring Valley along Lower Kabete Road
Since 2007, the Green Belt Movement (GBM) has been spearheading and following up on a case at the Spring Valley area of Nairobi which is a wetland on plot L.R. No. 209/12184. The developer, Sound Equipment Ltd., is building ten houses on a two-hectare land along Lower Kabete Road, which is a riparian land of Mathare River that cuts across the valley.
Over the years, GBM has been involved in several court cases against this developer. Government officials from past and present regimes have visited the site on numerous occasions, all with a promise of bringing down the buildings but no action to date.In a gazette notice CXII volume 35, dated April 1, 2010, the title deed for the land was revoked after public protests led by Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai.
In 2015, construction began once more and in March that year, then Lands Cabinet Secretary (CS) Charity Ngilu and the Chairperson, National Land Commission, Muhammad Swazuri, visited the site accompanied by a team from GBM. The CS ordered construction to stop and she even promised that the river flowing through that site would be named after Professor Wangari Maathai.
Today, almost a decade after the first protest begun and after numerous unproductive site visits and construction bans by the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning, the National Land Commission, the National Environment Management Authority(NEMA) and Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK), construction still continues and the roofing is almost complete.
- Nairobi City Park
In a shocking move, barely a month after 250 of Nairobi City residents, organizations and businesses met to celebrate the achievement of keeping City Park protected, a new threat has emerged.
On October 24, 2016, the Green Belt Movement received information indicating that a section of Nairobi City Park is under threat of land grabbing after illegally placed beacons were unearthed within the boundaries of this gazetted national monument.
In a press release by Friends of City Park dated October 21 2016, the beacons are in an area that extends from behind and in front of the main parking area down to the Boscawen collection area.
A team from the Green Belt Movement visited the park and was appalled by the destruction in that section of the park with visible beacons evidently put recently, trees have also been felled and vegetation cover burned to the ground.
We have written letters of inquiry to the relevant stakeholders of Nairobi City Park namely: Nairobi County Government, the National Museums of Kenya, the National Environment Management Authority and the Ministry of Environment and are still waiting for response.
- Development on wetlands along Limuru Road and Kiambu Road
Two separate developments are threatening to negatively affect two wetlands; one next to Fourways Junction along Kiambu Road and the other along Limuru Road right after the Village Market.
It has come to our notice that there are activities directed towards filling up the wetland along Kiambu Road to pave way for a block of apartments. Truckloads of soil and stones are continuously been dumped into the stated wetland oblivious of the fact that this ecosystem is a source of water for communities living downstream.
The Green Belt Movement is also deeply concerned by the ongoing development on the wetland along Limuru Road where JIT Group of Companies Kenya has fenced off a section of this wetland for unknown purposes. Our letters of inquiry to Nairobi County Government and Kiambu County Government on this issue have gone unanswered.
- Development on a wetland along Chalbi Drive, Lavington on L.R No. 3734/549
In 2005, the Lavington Residents Association reported a proposed development to the Green Belt Movement (GBM). We hired experts to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment which confirmed that indeed this land is on a riparian reserve.
In September 2008, GBM accompanied then Lands Minister, James Orengo, to the site and the Minister halted the ongoing development. Later in February 2011, the Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) moved to court seeking stop orders to develop the land which they got. WARMA issued a revoked authorization to construct through their Nairobi Sub – Regional office.
Since then, no development has been undertaken on the parcel of land yet a perimeter wall remains on site to date.
- Construction of Castle Rock Homes, Kileleshwa on L.R. No. 209/127/60
In August 2005, the Green Belt Movement moved to court seeking a permanent injunction restraining Castle Rock Homes Ltd. from effecting any further developments on this land which lies on a riparian reserve. Four years later, in August 2009, the suit was dismissed and Castle Rock Homes Ltd continued construction of the apartment block which is now completed.
These are just but a few of the numerous violations of our public land in this country.
We therefore call upon all Kenyans to join us via this online petition as we send a clear message to the National Government through the various Ministries and the different County Governments that the Green Belt Movement and the Kenyan public stand resolute against land grabbing and disregard to public land.