Published weekly by the Media Council of Kenya

To the Editor
Pen Cop
Off The Beat
Media Review
Media Monitoring
Literary Vignettes
Letter to the Editor
Guest Column
Fact Checking
Fact Check
Editor's Pick
EAC Media Review
Council Brief
Book Review
Edit Template

Weepy Mavoko stories hide fact that land fraud victims aren’t so innocent

Nation Media Group editor Oliver Mathenge published two posts on X that amounted to pinching the nose of the media.

The first post was a photo of a huge billboard put up by East African Portland Cement Company warning potential buyers that a parcel of land on both sides of Mombasa Road in Mavoko was not for sale. Portland did not just erect the billboard. The firm took pictures of it and posted them on social media. That was in 2016.

Mathenge wondered: “So, people were warned not to buy land in Athi River and went ahead and bought”?

His second post featured a newspaper ad by EAPC, again warning that fraudsters were claiming to sell land in Mavoko that belonged to the cement maker. That was in 2020.

When the “new media guru” made his two posts on October 16, the media was awash with weepy stories about demolitions of “palatial” homes and other properties on the EAPC land in Mavoko. The destruction followed a court judgment that the land belongs to the company.

Newsrooms milked every drop of this emotional story. Bulldozers knocking down homes worth millions of shillings. Heartbroken owners telling reporters they didn’t know what to do with their ruined lives. The picture that emerged from the news coverage was the evictions were inhumane and heartless.

Demolitions a betrayal of innocent homeowners,” the Daily Nation thundered in an editorial that captured the general media framing of the issue.

Tears flowed for the fourth day yesterday, exposing the inhumanity and callousness that words cannot describe,” Kimathi Street fulminated.

The whole administration system, right from village elders to county commissioners, and lands officers, have terribly let down these people. Where was the law enforcement intelligence, especially the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), and MCAs when the land was illegally allocated? And when the plots were fenced off and homes built?”

Everyone was to blame, except the homeowners themselves.

Yet hidden away from this doleful storytelling was the fact that people who bought the Portland Cement land had been warned. Not once. They didn’t listen.

On December 19, 2019, KTN Kiswahili News anchor Ali Manzu posted on X that, “East African Portland Cement issues 14-day eviction notice to people occupying its land in Athi River, Machakos County.”

Four years later when bulldozers rolled to the site, journalists told the nation and world the demolitions were heartless as the homeowners were innocent.

After the Daily Nation was done thundering, the very next day the paper carried a story titled, “The red flags that homeowners ignored” (October 18). They had been warned. They didn’t have titles but just allotment letters.

Incredibly low price was another red flag. People bought plots for as little as Sh50,000. Olisikia wapi?

As early as 2010, then EAPC boss Kephar Tande had warned about fraudsters planning to sell the company land.

Mzae, if you are charged with handling stolen property a kindly magistrate might listen to your long tale that you didn’t know. But you are unlikely to regain your freedom on that basis alone. It is your duty to find out all you can about any property you handle. Ignorance is no defense.

Lakini many Kenyans like cutting corners. They are more obsessed with the end than the process. That is why Shakahola happened. It is why people are duped into pyramid schemes. They are lazy and greedy. They want success and happiness without breaking a sweat.

If the man of God Bishop David Oginde and Twalib Mbarak at Integrity Centre on Valley Road did a survey, they would easily establish that Kenya is among top nations with the highest number of mikora per square kilometer. In Nairobi, possibly the third person from where you are seated is a fraudster.

Yet people still “buy” prime land at 50k. In one of the most corrupt places on Earth, people buy snake oil without a second thought. Nani alituroga?

But the media doesn’t want to speak openly and boldly about our mindlessness? Let’s teach and encourage our audiences to utilise professional services, to seek and use information in making important personal decisions, to do due diligence, to stop being too gullible, and to take full personal responsibility for how things turn out in their lives.

Let’s teach our audiences to avoid shortcuts, corruption, and the inevitable weeping and gnashing of teeth and blame games.

See you next week!

2 thoughts on “Weepy Mavoko stories hide fact that land fraud victims aren’t so innocent”

  1. Esteemed scribes i assume you too are Kenyans like us thick fellows who get conned and us brighter ones who con these simpletons.
    Forget sensitional stories and remember you are our sons n daughters , our brothers n sisters , our fellow coutrymen and thus you have a duty from now to warn us where else The govt shall demolish next.. where guys grabbed and should vacate..
    anika hawa watu so nooone shall claim innocence when the Shit hits the damn fan ..
    Anko George Wakaba

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share this post

Sign up for the Media Observer

Weekly Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy

Scroll to Top