Author / J Kamau
If any two men have contributed immensely to land chaos in Nairobi, the gold and silver medals should go to the late Hon. Muhuri Muchiri and the late Mwangi Thuita who were former Embakasi Ranching Company Directors.
As the government continues with attempts to address the land chaos in Embakasi left by Mr Thuita and Mr Muchiri, the story of how two unschooled bar owners contributed to one of Nairobi’s most convoluted land allocation has yet to be told.
At the moment, thousands of real estate owners who bought land in Embakasi are waiting, with fingers crossed, for the outcome of title deeds issuance process and an ongoing investigation into perhaps the biggest land-buying crisis in the country, thanks to Mr Thuita and Mr Muchiri.
Back in the 70's Embakasi Ranching Company consisted of 22,000 acres and was the largest land-buying company in Nairobi. The land was outside Nairobi in the plains of Ruai and nobody was interested in it. By the time it was acquired it had a sisal processing factory and more than 5,000 cows.
Mr Muchiri, a chain-smoker then, was a bosom friend of Mr Njenga Karume, then the chairman of the powerful Gikuyu, Embu and Meru Association (Gema) and through Mr Karume, he had managed to convince President Jomo Kenyatta to approve the purchase of the land in Embakasi and start selling the shares.
For that, he made Mr Karume a director of Embakasi Ranch together with the likes of Mr Mathenge Nduhiu and Mr Thuita. It was through Gema’s influence that Mr Muchiri won the Embakasi seat from Mr Mwangi Karungaru in. 1974
In order to appease President Moi, they had donated 5,000 acres of the land for the building of the modern-day Ruai Sewerage Treatment plant. But since it covers only 500 acres, the 4500 acres that remained were left to land grabbers including senior two members of Youth for Kanu 92, who were given over 2,000 acres.
After Mr Muchiri’s death, Mr Thuita took over the running of Embakasi with his Class Four literacy and hired goons to protect his hold on the leadership. Anyone who attempted to dethrone him was either bribed with a piece of land or beaten.
There were no two ways, a personal friend to Mr Thuita told me. More so, all police administrators who served in Embakasi were compromised with plots — and that includes a former police boss. That way, Mr Thuita ruled Embakasi Ranch until his death.