June 18, 2024

Kiambu police boss given seven days to evict Uhuru Kenyatta kin

4 min read
Kiambu police boss given seven days to evict Uhuru Kenyatta kin

Court gives Kiambu County police boss Michael Muchiri seven days to evict Uhuru Kenyatta kin from a 443-acre land

Court gives Kiambu County police boss Michael Muchiri seven days to evict Uhuru Kenyatta kin from a 443-acre land.

Kiambu County police boss Michael Muchiri has seven days to evict a corporation controlled by former Gatundu MP Ngengi Muigai from a 443-acre plot of land in Thika, a task that has eluded many of his predecessors for a decade.

Mr Muchiri could find himself sharing a cell with the criminals he is tasked with nabbing, if he does not evict Mr Muigai’s Muiri Coffee Estates from the vast land, and help Bidii Kenya Ltd take possession of the property.

Failure to evict Muiri Coffee Estates will see Mr Muchiri found in contempt of court, a charge that comes with a maximum penalty of Sh200,000 but could escalate to a prison term of up to six months. 

The contempt of court application filed by Bidii Kenya is the tail end of a 32-year-old battle by Mr Muigai to keep the land.

The politician, a cousin of former President Uhuru Kenyatta, had planned to get into horticulture through Benjoh Amalgamated which borrowed money from KCB for the venture, with Muiri Coffee Estates, also owned by Mr Muigai, coming in as a guarantor.

After the loan was defaulted, KCB sought to auction the property, sparking a series of court battles with Mr Muigai’s companies. Bidii Kenya came into the fray in 2007 when it bought the property in an auction.

Ruling on a contempt of court application by Bidii Kenya, Justice Mugambi on Tuesday ordered that Mr Muchiri report back to her on March 18, with a detailed status update of the eviction.

“The court directs again that the previous orders of this court that the county commander should oversee the execution and enforcement of the orders be complied with, that is by providing police officers to assist the applicant and provide security in the eviction process. Let this be done in the next seven days. I will mention to confirm compliance with these orders on March 18, 2024. And the county commander is hereby directed to attend court in person on March 18, 2024,” Justice Mugambi ruled.

Bidii Kenya has never set foot on the prime land, 17 years after the auction, and has accused senior police officers in Kiambu County of colluding with Mr Muigai’s firm to dodge execution of the eviction order.

Muiri Coffee Estates has filed 18 cases in various courts since 1992 when the legal dispute started, but lost all. Mr Muigai also instigated two parliamentary petitions that both flopped.

Despite the consistent losses and a 2014 order issued by Justice John Havelock, who has long retired from the Judiciary, Mr Muigai’s company is still in possession of the land.

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On Tuesday, Mr Muchiri claimed that he visited the property but found no armed individuals.

“I apologize for missing the court on Wednesday. Today, I am here and I want to give the court my best of co-operation. On Monday, I was able to go to the farm and I can confirm that we found only skeleton staff. It is basically ghostly, just a few people around there,” Mr Muchiri told the court.

He also said that the former owners had vacated the premises, making it easier for the legal owners to take possession of the land. “It is going to be okay for the legal owners to take possession of the property.”

Bidii Kenya has for years been unable to take possession of the property on account of armed youth, whom it told the court several times were paid to protect Muiri Coffee Estates’ occupation.

Mr Muchiri had in January requested 21 days to effect the eviction order.

But when he was poised to give a status update in court last week, the Kiambu police boss requested for an adjournment. There had been no movement in effecting the court order.

On March 18, he will be expected to give an update on the steps taken to send police officers to protect Bidii Kenya in taking possession of the land, nearly 17 years after paying for it.

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