Hundreds take to the streets protesting against court orders regarding Nakuru War Memorial Hospital

Nakuru War Memorial is public land

Hundreds of Nakuru residents have expressed their dissatisfaction with the court’s decision to issue temporary stay orders to block the county government’s takeover of Nakuru War Memorial Hospital.

The protesters marched through Nakuru City, to the hospital to condemn what they termed a rush decision by the judiciary in the matter.

The residents believe that the court’s action will reverse the progress made in reclaiming public land, which has been a nationwide issue.

One resident, Wangui Ng’endo, argues that the temporary orders will enable land grabbers to exploit the judicial system, denying local justice saying Governor Susan Kihika’s efforts to reclaim the seized land are welcome.

“It is unfortunate that a few well-oiled individuals want to grab public land. Their lease has expired and the county government was within its right to repossess the land together with the historic hospital,” said Ng’endo.

Another resident, Kimani wa Kimani, believes that all unlawfully acquired public land should be returned and urges the court to ensure the legality of reclaimed lands.

Hands off Nakuru War Memorial Hospital
Hands off Nakuru War Memorial Hospital

“Public land has been under threat for the longest time, the county and the governor are doing all they can to get them back and it is unfortunate that the courts are issuing such orders, we need health services and the county is doing exactly that,” said Kimani.

Justice Millicent Odeny of the Nakuru Environment and Lands Court issued the temporary orders on Tuesday, granting the hospital 21 days to file a formal application challenging the lease cancellation.

The judge also allowed the hospital staff to continue operations until the case is heard in court.

The temporary orders grant War Memorial Hospital and its Annex possession of the land, which is currently under the county government’s control.

Last Friday, the county government took over the hospital on the grounds that it was built on public land. The hospital was subsequently placed under the management of Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital Annex.

The War Memorial Hospital was established in 1922, and in 1971, former President Jomo Kenyatta ordered its annexation to benefit Kenyans.

The government later claimed part of the 25-acre land for the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital Annex in the 1970s.

After the recent revocation of the 99-year lease extension for the 25-hectare land, Nakuru County Secretary, Dr Samuel Mwaura emphasized that the hospital management had submitted false documents to secure the lease extension, which expired in 2021.

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