Ukambani leaders join clamour for factory land

Friday, February 7th, 2020 00:00 |
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka (left) and Machakos Senator Boniface Kabaka with squatters after touring the disputed cement factory land. Photo/PD/CHRISTINE MUSA

Ukambani leaders are calling on the government to resettle thousands of squatters who reside on the disputed East Africa Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) in Athi-river, Machakos county. 

Led by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, the leaders who toured the 16-acre piece of land said the resettlement of the squatters was long overdue.

The leaders included Machakos Woman Representative Joyce Kamene, Senator Boniface Kabaka and Mavoko MP, Patrick Makau. 

The tour comes days after EAPCC issued a notice to squatters to vacate and for the first time, the matter has now turned political. 

Agitated community leaders say the eviction is being orchestrated by a few selfish individuals who want to grab the land. 

They say the eviction notice goes against the National land Commission (NLC)  recommendations that the land reverts to the natives.

The land was initially utilised for mining and the squatters settled there upon completion of the excavation activities. 

The leaders claim some leaders are misleading the president on the matter. “I will take it upon myself to ensure I brief President Uhuru on this matter.

It is a serious matter which needs to be addressed urgently,” said Kalonzo. 

The leaders say they will not allow the squatters to be evicted. “We will not allow injustice to our people.

This is our ancestral land and we will not go anywhere whatsoever, “ said Kabaka. 

The squatters from the surrounding Athi-river slums have built permanent houses on the land through communal contributions.

They live in organised groups, which have set up social amenities facilities and the locals connected to the power grid through the State’s last-mile connectivity.

“There are women and children living on this land. They are not here by mistake, but by right.

As Ukambani leaders we will not relent and allow a few individuals to grab our land. We will do all it takes to revert the land back to the locals,” said Makau

During the recent tour by the president to Athi-river where he launched a mega affordable housing project, the disputed land politics played out in public when MP Makau urged the president to resettle the natives on the land while Machakos Govonor Alfred Mutua refrained from commenting on the matter.

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