Neighbors fought for half a metre space between their lands for seven years


Two neighbours have fought for seven years over a half-metre space between their fences in Dagoretti, Nairobi.

Joseph Njogu and his neighbour, Margaret Nyararia, have been feuding in court over the area between their properties.

It all started as a verbal disagreement but it climaxed into a vicious court battle that had to be settled by the Court of Appeal.

Ms Nyararia was the first to lodge a complaint before the Lands Registrar in 2009 complaining that her neighbour had taken over the empty space whereas he knew that it belonged to her.

The space the two were fighting for can only fit a single chicken coop, as the recommended space for a large chicken coop is two square feet per bird, which is approximately 0.6 metres.

The registrar and a surveyor visited the properties and determined that the disputed portion belonged to Nyararia.

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But the dispute did not end there. Mr Njogu filed a case before the Environment and Lands Court, arguing that the 0.5-metre land belonged to him.

He told the court he had been utilising the contested space as his land and thus could not be dispossessed.

In 2013, after hearing the two, the court ruled in favour of Nyararia, noting that she had proved that the disputed property belonged to her.

Aggrieved by the decision, Njogu appealed and this time he told the court that his testimony on the land was not considered by the judge.

He argued that by the time he started using the contested land, it was an empty space.

“I do not agree with the surveyor’s measurements of the land parcels, or with the decision of the Land Registrar, though I had not appealed against it,” the man complained.

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Njogu submitted that since there was no evidence to show he had encroached on the disputed portion, Nyararia had not proven her case and was, therefore, not entitled to any orders.

But appellate judges Gatembu Kairu, Agnes Murgor and Daniel Musinga disagreed with him, saying he had actually admitted the land belonged to his neighbour. The court directed him to pay the cost of the suit.

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