Kenya: Matatu Operators Face Eviction From Tala Bus Park in Row Over Sh80 Million


Traders and matatu operators using Tala bus terminus in Machakos county are facing imminent eviction should the county government fail to pay the owner of the eight-acre piece of land used as a matatu station a sum of Sh80 million.

According to a ruling delivered by the Environment and Lands Court in Machakos, the land belongs to the family of Elijah Mbondo Ntheketha (deceased) and not the county government.

As such, Justice Oscar Angote directed the county government to pay the family Sh80,742,353 accrued since 1983 when the defunct Urban Council of Tala/Kangundo took over the land.

The judge also issued a permanent injunction restraining the Governor Alfred Mutua-led government, either by itself, agents or servants, from trespassing on, interfering with, erecting any structures or in any way dealing with the parcel.

Annual fees

In addition to the Sh80 million, the county government was ordered to be paying Sh1.4 million per year until it vacates the suit property or purchase the same from the plaintiffs.

Although the county government was furnished with a hearing notice, when the matter came up for hearing, it was neither represented by its officials nor an advocate.

Representatives of the family, Ms Sarah Muthio and Mr Richard Muema, told the court that the land formed part of the estate of their deceased father.

They said through a letter dated September 1, 1983, that the Urban Council of Tala/Kangundo requested to use, on a temporary basis, the suit property for parking purposes at Tala market. The land is situated between the trunk road from Nairobi to Kangundo and Makala Road.

The letter, produced in court as evidence, was authored by the Clerk to the defunct Urban Council and it indicated that the council wanted to use the land in an attempt to control accidents and in providing a parking bay.

The court heard that the council directed all the public service vehicles to load and off-load passengers on the land at a fee. Later the council commenced construction of permanent structures.

Ms Muthio testified that despite charging the parking fees, the Urban Council did not, and has not, paid a penny to the estate of the deceased.

To date, she said, the County Government of Machakos is still collecting the said fees for the use of a portion of the suit property for public purposes.

She said the family holds a title to the suit land and produced a valuation report indicating they were entitled to Sh80.7 million.

As part of evidence on ownership of the land, the family tabled a copy of the freehold title for the suit property registered in the name of Elijah Mbondo Ntheketha dated June 13, 1984.

On the issue of general damages, the plaintiffs’ lawyer submitted that they have been unable to use the suit land and are entitled to general damages for loss amounting to Sh500 million and aggravated and exemplary damages of Sh10 million.

But the judge stuck with the valuation report dated sometime in April 2016. The report indicated that as at 2016, the payable annual rent was Sh1,454,231 with the total accumulated rent since 1983 being Sh80.7 million.

In his ruling, Justice Angote noted that the county government did not adduce any evidence to contradict the plaintiffs’ evidence that its bus park is occupying a portion of the suit land.

“Indeed, no evidence was called by the defendant to dispute the valuation report that was produced by the plaintiffs showing the payable rent for the occupied land since 1983 until the year 2016,” said the judge.

He found that the plaintiffs are not only entitled to an order of permanent injunction, but also to the accumulated rent since 1983 to date.


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