Court stops Nema eviction of 500 Lang'ata residents on Nairobi park landThursday March 16 2023
More than 500 residents of an informal settlement in Lang’ata have won a reprieve after a judge blocked their forced eviction, pending the determination of a case they have filed
The 550 residents of Animal Farm Association Settlement who live near the Southern by-pass in Lang’ata rushed to court after they were given 30 days’ notice to vacate the property.
The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) had issued the residents with the quit notice on the grounds that the land belonged to another person and that the settlement was next to Nairobi National Park and that the residents have invaded the park and vandalised the fence.
Justice Oguttu Mboya of the Environment and Land Court certified the case as urgent and directed the residents to serve Nema together with the Attorney General and the Chief Land registrar with the court papers.
The judge directed the case to be mentioned on March 23, for directions.
“In the meantime, an Interim Conservatory Order be and is hereby Issued to bar or prohibit the Respondents herein, or anyone of them, from carrying out and undertaking the imminent Eviction or Evacuation of the Petitioners or their Families from the Suit Property, pending the Inter Partes Hearing on the return Date,” Justice Mboya said.
The residents led by Daniel M. John and Gordon Ndeto challenged the notice saying it is illegal and unlawful as it is disguised as protecting public land.
They further said Nema has usurped the role of the National Land Commission in the management of public land and the notice advances the personal interests of a private person, which the agency has declined to disclose.
The residents claim they have built houses, and businesses on the property, which they have known to be their home and source of their livelihoods for more than three decades.
They further claim to have severally and unsuccessfully sought the indulgence of the Attorney General, the Chief Land registrar and the Nairobi City County to be with title documents for the area they have occupied.
“The Petitioners have further sought the assistance of successive government regimes for the issuance of title documents and despite on various occasions having been asked to contribute money for processing of their title documents, their desires have fallen on deaf ears,” Mr Ndeto said in an affidavit.
In 1997, he said, the then Provincial Administration through the area chief asked the residents of the Settlement to contribute Sh2,000, each, which they did, for the processing of title documents.
Nema had also claimed that the settlement was on the flight path of aircraft flying to and from Wilson Airport, thus can become a haven for terrorists and that the residents have engaged in innumerable crimes such as rape and theft.
“Contrary to this assertion, the Petitioner’s settlement is located about 300 metres from the Southern By-pass that separates the settlement and the National park. As a matter of public notoriety, it is common knowledge that the National Park is surrounded by electric fence hence no layperson can dare approach the same let alone vandalise,” Mr Ndeto said.
He further said no complaint has ever been raised by the Kenya Wildlife Service to that effect and that no complaint has been made by Kenya Airports Authority that the settlement was on a flight path.
They want the court to issue a declaration that the intended forced eviction, without giving them an alternative land or accommodation is a violation of their rights.
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