Two sitting Thika MCAs accused of plot to grab children’s playground.

A section of Section 9 residents display placards resisting an attempt by sitting MCAs of grabbing the only children playground in the area. (INSET) An old notice board showing who manages the ground.

A storm is brewing between residents of Section 9 Estate and two area sitting MCAs over a piece of land set aside for a children's playground and recreational activities.

Speaking to the press on Monday morning, the residents expressed their disappointment with the two MCAs whom they accused of being behind the scheme to grab the land. They alleged that, about two or three weeks ago, the two leaders came in a company of several senior county government officials and performed what was assumed as surveying and collecting data on the ground.

Those who enquired what the visit was all about were rudely responded to by one of the MCAs who told them that the county government was in the process of ‘putting the idle piece of land into a better and more productive use’.

His attitude and rude response towards the residents elicited suspicion that it emanated from the fact that someone was interfering with their attempt to silently acquire the land for commercial purposes.

“As the custodians of public interests in this town, it is very unfortunate that those entrusted to safeguard public utilities are the first people to try and acquire them illegally,” said Abdi Nassir Ali Kabati, the son of the Late Ali Kabati who is a resident of Section 9.

“Ever since the two MCAs came to this ground a few weeks ago, strange people have been frequenting here and taking pictures of the ground. This is evidence enough that their visit was not up for no good,” he continued.

Abdi said that attempts to grab that parcel of land runs down several decades but were thwarted by the residents through his late father and the current Kiambu County Assembly Speaker MP Stephen Ndichu who was the then area MP.

Ali Kabati served as a councillor to the defunct Thika Municipal Councils for over four decades and was once its deputy mayor.

A senior resident Aboo Nurein reckoned that the ‘grabbing mania’ had now taken over this country where people grabbed even open space in total disregard to the general welfare of the public. He said that it was worse in Thika as there were numerous complaints across the constituency with residents complaining of the scourge especially with the current county assembly members.

“People are complaining all over the place. They have grabbed chunks of land in Majengo Estate and several other estates in Thika. The cry is all over,” he said.

He added that the same happened with the previous regime where the leaders grabbed and allocated a piece of land at Mortgage Estate which now is littered with kiosks and other businesses.

The residents have said that any move to grab the 1-acre land in will strongly be resisted. They called on Lands Ministry, the National Lands Commission, Kiambu County Government and the office of the area MP to reign in on the grabbers as the land was a public utility meant for their children.

They vowed to write a complaint letter to the relevant authorities and if need be, send a copy to the President’s office as well. 
A notice sign erected on the fence by the residents warning against any unauthorised encroachment of the piece of land in dispute.

“Our children no longer have anywhere to play leading them to hover and idle around the estates. This is one reason why our youth are being driven into drug abuse and we cannot entertain such kind of greed at the expense our future generation,” said Aboo.

Monica Wanjiku Muiru and David Muiru Kibinge have lived in Section 9 since 1970. They say that the land has been used as a children’s playground since time in memorial.

“In 1974, the then authorities allowed The Lions Club of Thika to rehabilitate and improve the ground. They fenced the ground, planted trees and put up basic necessities for children to play in. They have maintained the facility ever since,” explained Wanjiku.

Kibinge however says that it has been a challenge for the Lions Club and the residents to control thugs who have continuously vandalised the equipment within the ground, notwithstanding leaders who have on several occasions attempted to grab the land.

They have now vowed to fight to their last drop of land to safeguard the playground adding that they were in talks to have other basic facilities such as toilets and bathrooms be constructed so as to make the ground more useful.

The land in question is sitting on a very prime area whose value runs into hundreds of millions of shillings, probably the reason why it is making so many people to salivate.

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