The Environment and Lands Court has halted the planned eviction of over 20,000 residents accused of illegally erecting homes on disputed land in Ngong’ Forest.
Justice Benard Eboso, who presided over the petition by a section of residents challenging the planned demolition, granted orders barring the Kenya Forest Services and Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko from executing the demolition plans until the hearing of a case scheduled for July 28, 2020.
While urging the court to find that the demolitions were illegal, the residents argued that they had obtained the title deeds legally. They maintained that they are innocent buyers urging the court to stop the impunity that would lead to unbearable losses.
The government, through the Ministry of Environment and Land, had put up an executive order to reclaim part of Ngong’ Forest that it said was illegally acquired by land grabbers. The reclamation had targeted demolition of over 800 lavish homes mostly sitting in Lang’ata and Racecourse.
Some of the targeted estates include Royal Park, Sunvalley I and II, Lang’ata Gardens, Forest Edge, Lang’ata View Gardens, Kenya Medical Association Estate, and St Mary’s Hospital among others.
According to the CS, the orders are part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to reclaim all illegally acquired government pieces of land across the country. CS Tobiko also added that these orders would be implemented regardless of the legality of the related title deeds.