Several squatters spent the night outside as bulldozers demolished their houses on East African Portland Cement PLC (EAPC PLC) land in Machakos county following a ruling by the Land and Environment Court in Machakos County, which recently declared the company as the legitimate owner of the land after a long legal battle with Aimi Ma Lukenya Society Association.
Speaking during a visit to Athi River to inaugurate the Square Pharmaceuticals yesterday, President Ruto issued a directive to evict squatters occupying a portion of East African Portland Cement land in Athi River. He further instructed the Lands Ministry to nullify land titles for plots in Athi River that have remained undeveloped for over a decade while emphasizing the need to address land speculation and under-utilization.
“I have given clear instructions to the management here that all land speculators, individuals who have held land titles for 10 to 30 years without undertaking development, should have their titles revoked. This will enable us to allocate the land to individuals interested in utilizing the area,’’ the president said.
As part of this initiative, an additional 250 acres of land have been identified in Athi River, previously held by speculators. He expressed his optimism stating that he sees the potential to expand the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Athi River, focusing on attracting manufacturing investments. A portion of the land owned by the East African Portland Cement is expected to be used to expand the manufacturing zone.
“We are delighted that the court has ruled in our favor. Those who speculated on benefiting from selling this land should now vacate. The government intends to purchase a section of this land and establish more factories, with a focus on providing employment opportunities for our youth,’’ the president said.
This development follows a recent court decision that settled a decade-long dispute over the ownership of 4,298 acres of land, marked as LRNo 10424, along the Mombasa Road in Athi River.
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The President’s directive and the court’s decision are part of broader land reforms aimed at addressing land speculation, promoting development, and expanding industrial zones in Athi River.