After days of demolitions of houses that were built at the Athi River land owned by the East Africa Portland Cement, the government through the company has now announced that it will sell the controversial Mavoko land dubbed LR No. 8784/144, 145 & 653 Mavoko.
The demolitions were ordered by President William Ruto during the official opening of a pharmaceutical company at the Export Processing Zone (EPZ).
“East African Portland Cement (EAPC Plc) wishes to notify members of the public of its offer to sell the above referenced parcels of land via a regularization model,” the company announced in a notice dated October 17, 2023 that appeared in the Daily Nation newspaper.
The government through the company days that first and preferential priority shall be offered to the people currently occupying sections of the land.
“Those in this kind of situation are advised to state their claim of the same within 14 days from the date of this notice,” the notice said.
The government said that after the expiry of this notice, the Athi River land shall be sold on a willing buyer – willing seller policy to the general public.
“At the expiry of this notice, all unclaimed portions shall be competitively offered to the general public on a willing buyer willing seller basis. A site office has been set up and an office for this purpose is also available within EAPC premises along Namanga Road.”
The demolitions have raised concerns on why the government was quick to bring down the houses instead of pursuing a regularization model that had been proposed between the East African Portland Cement company and the home owners.
The new announcement has also cast doubt on whether the affected home owners will be able to afford the plots after losing their homes in the demolitions.
The disputed prime land, LR.NO 10424, is located along Mombasa Road, south of Athi River Township in Machakos County. It measures approximately 4,298 acres.
It has been at the centre of a dispute between EAPC and the land squatters who the company said invaded the land after it completed its mining operations on the land about 10 years ago.
After EAPC went to court, the cement manufacturer was declared the legal owner of the land. On October 9, 2023, ELC Machakos Court, Judge Lady Justice A. Nyukuri ruled that the plaintiff’s case be dismissed and struck out with costs against the defendant. Barely a week later, demolitions of the houses on the land started.