Neighbouring the affluent, leafy suburb of Runda is a sprawling slum that looks an eyesore but unknown to many it is a treasure.
Githogoro slums along the Northern bypass borders Runda and though its residents are the poor lot, the land is worth billions and many moneyed Kenyans salivate for it.
The slum in Nairobi County is home to casual labourers in Runda and neighbouring areas, jobless youngsters and the families of the slum owners who though impoverished, their property is cumulatively worth about Ksh7 billion, according to financial and land experts.
Kamau Thuo, former Karura ward MCA who was brought up in Githogoro says the bonafide owners are poor millionaires.
“They own plots worth millions of shillings but many are unable to sell them nor develop them into bungalows and maisonettes because of financial constraints and family wrangles,” Thuo noted.
John Gitau sits on a plot owned by his late grandfather but his uncles, siblings and children lay claim of the same. He says they are yet to agree to sell it and move out.
“We are stranded here. On our plots worth millions of money but we can’t turn them into a fortune because of our wrangles. We are poor millionaires,” Gitau laments.
The bushy land was purchased through a group of 72 people in the 1970s.
They subdivided it equally into half-acre each near the main road and three-quarter-acre each a few metres off the road.
Now Githogoro slum housing about 25,000 people is owned by 72 families and nearly all of them live in shanties.
“Though the owners are offered handsome money, they have not been able to sell their plots because of disagreements. They cannot subdivide amongst family generations and have enough space for decent structures. So, they are forced to put up mabati houses and other semi-permanent structures to accommodate all of them. We are talking of three generations,” Thuo reveals.
In Githogoro, half-acre plots along the bypass go for about Kh60 million or more and the three-quarter-acre retails at about Ksh40 million according to land experts.
Cumulatively, each of the 72 families has land worth about Ksh100 million which basically means the whole Githogoro slum is worth about Ksh7 billion.