August 21st 2017

Top Stories / National

Eastleigh traders force Swazuri's hand in market land row

The chairperson of the hawkers’ association, Agnes Mulela, described the suffering they had undergone after being kicked out of the market and thanked the NLC for intervening.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comThursday, 27 Oct 2016 18:31 EAT

The National Land Commission (NLC) has declared a plot in Nairobi’s Eastleigh illegally acquired and said it will revoke the title deed earlier awarded to a private developer. NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri said the land, whose ownership is being claimed by market traders and a private developer, Ali Sheikh Mohamud and Farah Mohamed Barrow, doing business as Alpha Traders, was indeed public land which had been earmarked for development of a market.

"The Commission on Administrative Justice (Ombudsman) did their research and gave a report. The defunct City Council had written a letter saying they gave out the land and after public hearing, they did another letter acknowledging that they made a mistake. We have now taken responsibility according to the law," said the NLC chairman. The land had been erroneously transferred to the private developer in 2007.

The Ombudsman, Mr Otiende Amollo, had launched investigation into dereliction of duty, abuse of power, unfair treatment and any injustice committed by officials of the defunct City Council in respect of the land, and on August 8 the office directed the county government to compensate traders evicted from the market in 2007 and give them back the 1.26 acres. The 403 traders were ejected by the former Nairobi City Council.

The Ombudsman's report held that "The council unlawfully ejected the traders and irregularly allocated the market land to private developers. Our investigations have revealed that officials of the defunct City Council unlawfully aided Ali Sheikh Mohamud and Farah Mohamed Barrow, associated with Alpha Traders, to acquire the land in 2007," Mr Amollo said.

Yesterday, Mr Swazuri visited the plot and found construction workers laying the foundation of shopping malls the private developers planned to erect on the land despite orders prohibiting any further construction. "The construction had been stopped on several occasions but it is going on. We will work with county commissioner and county government it is stopped so that we sort out the issues in accordance with laws," he said.

The chairman promised that NLC would take back the land and re-allocate it. It was a day of celebration for Eastleigh Market traders. The chairperson of the hawkers’ association, Agnes Mulela, described the suffering they had undergone after being kicked out of the market and thanked the NLC for intervening.

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