Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka addresses the press in Athi River, Machakos yesterday. Photo/GERALD ITHANA
Seth Onyango @SethManex
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka risks losing a multi-million shilling land in Machakos as the National Youth Service (NYS) stepped up efforts to reclaim 23,170 acres of land which it claims was grabbed. On the spot is 500 acres of land in Yatta Constituency, which Kalonzo acquired when he served as Vice President in President Mwai Kibaki’s administration.
Kalonzo has denied claims that the land was acquired irregularly. He insists he bought the land on a willing-buyer, willing-seller basis and has proof that stamp duty on the parcel of land is fully paid. Yesterday, NYS said it was the registered owner of the contested land and ordered Kalonzo to immediately vacate within 14 days.
“The department, therefore, does not recognise any claim whatsoever that any individual and or entity has over the said parcels of land whether through themselves, their agents, assigns or successors,” NYS director general Richard Ndubai said in a newspaper notice. NYS also directed that anyone with title deeds relating to the land should surrender them to Ndubai.
“Failure to surrender the department shall embark on the process of repossession of the subject parcels at the individuals’ or entities own peril as to the attendant costs and legal consequences arising from such repossessions,” the directive read. Kalonzo’s woes seemed to have intensified after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed NYS to immediately repossess all its grabbed land.
“Land previously owned by NYS will be returned to the institution for active programmes that will help the youth in employment. The State will put all resources at its disposal to ensure that NYS succeeds in this,” he directed during his tour of the NYS textile and garment technology institute in Nairobi.
Controversy surrounding the land first erupted in 2016 when Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua told the Senate Committee on County Public Accounts and Investments that Kalonzo had used his position as vice-president to influence the allocation of 500 acres of NYS land in Yatta, Machakos, to himself and proxies.
Mutua had asked the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Land Commission and the Commission on Administrative Justice to investigate the matter. The Nasa co-principal however, denied the claim. Former Lands Cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu, now Kitui governor, defended him. Kalonzo insists he bought the land from one Janet Chirchir and denied claims he grabbed it.