The Water Resource Management Authority (Warma) is on the spot for allegedly protecting a woman who changed river course by dumping debris and soil on the river bed to illegally expand her land.
The woman, Ms Beatrice Muthoni is a land owner at Ridgeways Estate that borders Rui Ruaka River, and has been dumping debris and soil into the river to expand her land for years now.
However, this has been to the disadvantage of her neighbours, especially Mr Faustine Njoroge Njuguna, whose land has been reduced as the river finds a new course.
Mr Njoroge’s land is on the opposite side of the river at Muthaiga North Estate, and the river has already eaten into his land over the years.
Muthaiga North Residents Association first launched the complaint to Warma on behalf of Mr Njuguna on March 23, 2017. In their letter to Warma, the residents wanted Ms Muthoni to be ordered to remove the soil and stop any further dumping.
Warma gave the orders, but Ms Muthoni ignored them, in a manner that suggested that she was protected by a senior person in the body.
On March 22, 2017, Mr Njuguna wrote to the County Government of Nairobi, requesting intervention of the county.
“The owners of the Ridgeways plot have and continued to dump soil and debris to the river resulting in its blockage and flooding in the properties of adjacent neighbours across the river. This will obviously escalate at the onset of heavy rains leading to major losses hence my appeal to you for intercession,” read the letter in part.
He received nothing much from the county, prompting him to conduct a land survey before more land was lost.
A land survey by Covenant Geo-survey systems, which was conducted in August 2017shows that the course of the river had been diverted through dumping, and had eaten into Mr Njuguna’s land.
Mr Njuguna was receiving no help from Warma, hence he raised a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman, which wrote to Warma on January 31, 2018 demanding answers.
“The complainant now seeks to have the matter addressed with a view of having action taken to stop his neighbour from dumping soil on River Ruaka’s riparian area. By means of this letter, we request you to respond to the allegations within fourteen (14) days; clearly indicating your position on the same, steps taken, if any, or intended actions and time-frames in the event,” the letter from Ombudsman read in part.
Warma wrote back on February 12, 2018, promising to fast-track compliance of the law on the same and issue a report “in due course”. However, Warma never issued any report, and the Office of Ombudsman had to write to them again on July 4, 2018 seeking answers.
Warma responded again on July 24, 28, saying that the offender, Ms Muthoni, had been arrested after failing to comply with the orders and booked under the OB number 79/18/7/8 at Kasarani Police Station. However, when Mr Njuguna visited the station with the OB Number, the OCS Mr Muchemi Kiruhi refused to admit his complains, on grounds that the OB number was erroneous and non-existent in the station.
Mr Njuguna sought the details of the prosecution from Warma which were never provided; suggesting that the case may have been ‘killed’ or it was never there. Warma never invited him to be a prosecution witness.
Mr Njuguna risks losing another chunk of land to Athi Water Works Development Agency which intends to build a sewer line along the same river. Warma have mapped Mr Njuguna’s side of the river for the line, with the assumption that the river is in its rightful place.
“There is also a proposed construction of a sewer line on my side of the river and Warma have mapped about eight meters for use. They want me to sign for compensation. But I have declined because there is more than enough space for that use if the river is reverted to its natural/original course,” says Mr Njuguna in a letter to the Director of Public Prosecutions dated December 11, 2019.
They have accordingly written to Muthaiga North residents affected by the line about land valuation for purposes of compensation.
“Kindly note that if justice is served for me and the river and the latter reinstated to where it belongs, the issue of compensating me would not arise because the riparian area would be more than adequate for the sewer. And I do not think it will be right for the government to spend money compensating me while its land is stolen,” he adds in another letter.
Mr Njuguna is now seeking justice from relevant authorities, and wants action taken against corrupt officials who may have been involved in protecting Ms Muthoni.