Thursday, 17 November 2011

Do Kenyans learn from the Mistakes of others?

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Evidence is emerging that the real estate developers whose homes were flattened by government’s bulldozers in yokimau, were in fact land grabbers. The evidence suggests that the developers were duped into buying government land reserved for the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi

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The disputed plot is not in Syokimau farm but is sandwiched between the Airport and the farm. Previously that land belonged to the Kenya Airports authority, being a reserve for the expansion of the airport which lies 21Km South East of the Nairobi CBD.
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The unsuspecting investors bought the land from conmen some years back and dismissed murmurs that they occupy the land illegally. The evidence suggests that the LR number is for a piece of land located at least 10 KM from the site. This plot has also been sold and is being developed.

In effect the government has told the developers that they were robbed of their money due to the investors’ lack of due diligence. Generally, it is incumbent upon investors in land to ensure that the land title in question is clean. He must confirm that the title is registered in the name of the seller and that the land has no caveats.  This means that an investor inland should engage the services of a Lawyer to advice before money changes hands. Lawyers would investigate the land in question to establish the genuine owner, that the land being sold is the land physically registered and that it has no caveats.

Apparently, this group of investors chose to ignore the right procedures. In fact a number have admitted that they cut corners with the process opting to deal with the sellers on the basis of trust.
 Strangely, the developers knew since 2004 that they were trespassing on government land.  Instead of pursuing the people who sold them the land, the investors opted for Court injunctions to stop the government from evicting them from the land.

How they expected the government to look the other way as it lost land reserved for the expansion of an international Airport is difficult to fathom. The investors apparently did not learn from another group of investors who had bought land on road reserves around the same area and put up palatial homes. When the time for the expansion of the road came in 2006, the structures including some Multi-story flats were brought down. Those who ignored the government’s warning had their structures brought down by bulldozers. 

Land in Nairobi is scare and expensive. This has forced potential home owners living in the city to look to the outskirts of the city such as Syokimau, Mlolongo, Athi River, Kitengela and other parts of Mavoko Municipality for land to build homes and factories. Demand for land in these areas has gone up and so has the number of conmen posing as land selling agents.

Conmen know this and they exploit the greed for urban plots to line their pockets. Many have no qualms selling fake land. That is what happened to investors at Syokimau who bought nothing.  They simply gave someone their hard earned income in exchange for the pain they are suffering now- for the simple reason that they ignored the legal procedures regarding land acquisition. 

It is emerging that it is not only Syokimau investors who will lose their lifetime investments. The government, reports indicate, has decided to reclaim its land from grabbers especially around Airports. This means that many more homes could face the bulldozer before the close of this year.
The government, reports say, has opted to protect its airports by recovering its land from land grabbers. It is feared, say official sources, that Al Shabaab sympathizers could buy homes within these areas and use it to hit planes approaching or leaving the airports.

Kenya has sent its defense forces to Somalia to fight and destroy this terrorist group which is allied to Al Qaeda. If this is the case, then, analysts say, many land grabbers around the airports’ landing and take off pathways will soon come to grief. This leaves the question begging when will Kenyans learn?  Those who ignored these procedures in the past have come to grief: Do we learn anything from the mistakes of others?






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