A group of outraged matatu operators and local residents in Nyahururu took to the streets on Saturday, staging protests against an unnamed businessman who allegedly encroached on public land near a bus stop.
The protestors accused the private developer of seizing a parcel of land designated as a matatu terminus and subsequently constructing a commercial building without the necessary approvals.
The demonstrators, determined to protect public property, stormed the site and demolished structures that had been illicitly erected.
Among the protestors was Samwel Wandeto, who emphasized, “What we are saying is we do not want a repeat of this. This is a stage, and we refuse to accept the land grabbing. We shall protect public property.”
Irene Wachuka, another protester, challenged the businessman, urging him to seek a refund from county government officials if he had bribed them for the project.
“You know you demolished the stage claiming you want to set up your own thing. We maintain that you will not grab this,” she stated.
She asserted, “If you bribed some people for the project, you should ask them for your money back because this is public property.”
The incident highlights a broader issue of land disputes in Laikipia County, where Nyahururu is located.
According to a recent report from the National Crime Research Centre, Laikipia County ranks among the top 10 counties in Kenya with unresolved succession land disputes. This troubling trend raises concerns about the preservation of public spaces and the protection of community assets.
Vihiga recorded the highest percentage at 81.2%, followed by Nyamira at 70.6%, Busia at 63.2%, Nandi at 60.0%, and Laikipia at 36.8%.
These protests follow a recent move by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to recover approximately 18 acres of land allegedly grabbed from Kibuye Market in Kisumu.
The EACC CEO, Twalib Mbarak, revealed that the land, valued at Ksh2 billion, had been illegally seized, with the perpetrators offering to sell it back to the State.
“We have got all the relevant documents relating to the said parcels from the Ministry of Lands. Subsequently, several people recorded statements and with all the evidence, we filed the suit in court,” he told the press.