Kenyatta University is one of the leading universities in Kenya, a distinguished center of excellence which prides in developing, nurturing and mentoring some of the world's top scholars, researchers and experts in diverse fields. It is a body corporate registered under the Universities Act, thus can own property in its own name. The university which is the registered owner of a parcel of land LR NO.11026/2 risks losing more than 400 acres of its land to a state orchestrated scheme of land grabbing veiled as acquisition for supposed public interest.
On 4th July 2022, the Head of Public Service, Mr. Joseph K. Kinyua issued a directive to the Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Wainaina to surrender to the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning the Title Deed for Kenyatta University parcel of Land LR. No. 11026/2 for excision on the said parcel in the following manner:
- World Health Organisation- 30 acres
- Africa Centre for Disease Control- 10 acres
- Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral, and Research Hospital ( KUTRRH)- 180 acres
- Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning- 190 acres to facilitate resolution of the Kamae Scheme.
Neither the University Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Wainaina nor the council was involved in the conversation leading to the decision to hive off a portion of the land despite them being the custodians of the land. Further the University has a detailed master plan which details how it intends to develop every inch of the land. The decision to alienate land from the University is therefore illegal, unconstitutional, and unprocedural; and speaks volumes of the height of state capture that is the heart of land administration in Kenya, which has hindered the realization of the much needed reforms and justice in that sector. The University Council has been victimized for resisting this criminality including the suspension of the Vice Chancellor, now reinstated after a legal battle, and sacking of the members of the University Council. We wish to applaud the Council for boldly standing tall in the face of impunity.
Continued encroachment through presidential directives to subdivide the Kenyatta University land can be traced to 1984 where a group of 670 squatters invaded part of the land and caused 30.82 acres excised for establishment of Kamae scheme. Recently In the matter of Kimani Mbugua and others vs. Kenyatta University of ELC no. 1460 of 2002, the court
upheld that the squatters have no rights of the title of possession to Kenyatta University land. The absurd insistence by the Cabinet to reward fraudsters at the altar of political expediency through the intended excision of 190 acres for the ostensible resettlement of these illegitimate squatters is baffling and certainly sparks more questions than answers.
These illegal sub divisions threaten the advancement of education for the next great generation of Kenyan leaders. Further it is an attack on the sanctity of the 2010 constitution and relevant legislations and policies which lay fundamental principles of governance; and transparent, cost-effective administration of land. It is despicable for the cabinet to make such a unilateral decision without the involvement of the Council and the public. Infact it is the sole mandate of the National Land Commission to undertake compulsory acquisition of land, yet they have maintained stern silence on the matter. It is this culture of impunity demonstrated by irregular acquisitions and allocations of land that has put Kenya at the crossroads of unresolved historical and current injustices. The unfolding events in Kenyatta University paint a vivid picture of executive overreach, and how it continues to stealthily erode our democracy, with coordinated draconian mechanisms to silence those who speak out against it. The civil society is greatly appalled by this culture of impunity which continues to be perpetrated by state cronies to suppress and undermine the rule of law and hereby DEMANDS the following:
- That the government HALTS any developments and sub-divisions on the land pending the determination of ELC Petition E029/2022.
- That the government STOPS the unethical and completely shameless harassment of Kenyatta University staff as well as deploying a more compliant administration to facilitate the land acquisition.
- That the National Land Commission comes out to CONDEMN this illegality and implements its mandate.
- That students, Alumni and the public strongly come out, and CALL OUT the government for this illegality.
- That the Executive respects Constitutional commissions and the attendant legal processes.
- Need for public participation amongst stakeholders including dissemination of the contract between the World Health Organisation and the GoK.
- Enhanced coordination between government agencies. This culture of government agencies working in silos is extremely disheartening.
- That the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and the Commission of Administrative Justice should COME OUT strongly to defend the right to education and fair administrative action under threat in this process.
Kenya Land Alliance
Kenya Human Rights Commission