Society / Education
Wednesday, 13 Jul 2016 21:19 EATswaithera@kenyafreepress.com
Students and staff members at the United States International University took to the road today to protest the alleged grabbing of the university’s land. The peaceful demonstrations caused a snarl-up on the Thika Super Highway. In the front line was Vice Chancellor Paul Tiyambe and businessman Manu Chandaria, who is the chancellor of the university.
Former President Daniel arap Moi was paid Sh500 million by a private developer a month ago for land claimed by the United States International University-Africa (USIU-A). The eight-hectare (20-acre) parcel in upmarket Muthaiga North Estate is now hotly disputed.
George Kiongera, a Kenyan residing in the US, said he bought the land from the former President and does not, therefore, recognise the university’s claim. He obtained court orders to keep Riley Services Ltd, a security firm contracted by the university to guard the property, out of the land and replaced them with his own workers, including guards.
USIU-A Vice-Chancellor Tiyambe Zeleza, however, said the land belongs to the university, registered under the name USIU - AFRICA (LR NO 12597/2). On the other hand, Kiongera produced documents showing the transfer of the land from Moi to Maestro Connections Health Systems on June 6. He and his wife Elizabeth Njeri are partners in the company.
Prof Zeleza added that there had never been any claim to the land until June 29, when “the management board received information that unauthorized persons were frequenting the land purporting that they were the owners”.
USIU-A identified its different pieces of land as LR Nos 12597/2 and 27800 adjoining Balozi Estate in Muthaiga North, and LR Nos 12765, 25302/1 and 25302 situated behind Safari Park Hotel.
But Dr Kiongera identifies his land as LR No 12422/19 and goes ahead to accuse unnamed members university staff of attempting to steal his property. He said they are using the institution to grab the land from him. He claims that the land was sold to him through President Moi’s lawyer, his son Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, and KANU Secretary General Nick Salat.
Dr Kiongera said USIU-A is innocent and that he hopes “common sense will prevail on the management of the institution” not to use vulnerable children to advance the cause of land-grabbers.
Kithure Kindiki Associates, the law firm associated with Tharaka-Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, helped the developer to secure financing for the land. One of its lawyers, Mr Boniface Mutwiri, said that the firm had ascertained that the land was, indeed, owned by Mr Moi before advising its client to go ahead with the purchase.
“USIU-A have not presented any document. In the caveat placed in the paper, they talk about a completely different property,” said Mr Mutwiri.
Waithera is a staff writer at the Kenya Free Press.