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Kiang’ombe residents are up in arms with a certain private developer who they claim to have worked in cohoots with corrupt officers in the Thika Lands Department and known land brokers to defraud them of their community land.

Led by Kiang'ombe Squatters Chairperson Mrs Milka Wangui, the residents held demonstrations on Saturday to protest against land grabbing. They pulled down the wall and threatened to attack the workers who were working in the site on behalf of the alleged grabber. They said that plans were underway to build a primary school on the five acres, but two months ago the investor started building a perimeter wall.

They claimed that well-connected brokers sold the public land to unsuspecting investors.
“The officials at the Lands and Planning department [of Kiambu county] have colluded with brokers to give out our land. A woman broker told us in broad daylight we can take her nowhere because the officials has been ‘seen’ and they are hastening approval of the investor’s building plans,” Wangui said.

She said another senior official from the same department asked for Sh5 million from the squatters’ committee to give them a title deed for the land.

“We have made countless visits to the National Land Commission offices and the Lands ministry to get a title deed, but all in vain,” Wangui said.

Geoffrey Ngugi, a  resident, said that he had lived with his family on the disputed piece of land for more than 60 years. He claimed that the the land was given to them by the then government adding that former Lands Minister Amos Kimunya issued them with allotment letters in 2011 for this parcel as proof that it was duly theirs.

“This land will be grabbed over our dead bodies,” he said.

Meanwhile, Thika Lands Chief Officer Mr. David Gatimu denied the allegations saying that the accusations against his officers were unfounded. He asked the residents to report the corrupt officials and produce evidence.

“Investigations to ascertain the real owners of the disputed land will commence immediately,” Gatimu said.

The residents called for intervention by acting Lands Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri.

“We don’t want Kiang’ombe to be like Kihiu Mwiri. Our President said land matters should be resolved quickly, efficiently and effectively,” resident Florence Wanjiku said.

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