Drama ensued at the War Memorial Hospital in Nakuru County after county askaris popularly known as kanjos stormed and disrupted operations at the hospital.
The enforcement officers reportedly chased away medical staff at the hospital, a day after yet another round of disruptions on Saturday, January 20.
At the center of the confusion is a dispute between the County Government of Nakuru and the management of the Nakuru War Memorial Hospital over the 25-acre land hosting the hospital.
In a video shared from the scene, a Nakuru County Askari was seen making strides in the hospital as patients and members of the public with patients at the hospital lamented in the background.
Relatives of patients were heard condemning a security guard who reportedly attempted to force patients out of critical wards at the facility including a dialysis ward.
At some point, the kanjo was retreating and trying to intimidate distressed members of the public who resorted to recording a video of his actions.
Some patients were seen stranded within and outside the hospital’s premises, painting a picture of the effect of the ugly dispute between the two parties.
Land dispute at the center of hospital unrest
The raids have but become a common occurrence at the hospital with the Nakuru County administration hellbent on taking over the premises.
Nakuru County has been insisting that the hospital’s lease has expired and now wants to take over the hospital.
But the War Memorial Hospital equally affirmed that it had legitimate rights to operate in the area despite the assertion by Nakuru County and its rejection for an extension of a lease for 50 years.
On Friday, January 29, police arrested two directors of the Nakuru Memorial Hospital namely Rodger Josslyn and Dr Simon Watene alongside two government officials accused of forging documents relating to the ownership of the land in dispute.
Consequently, two and their co-accused were later on Monday, January 23, arraigned in court and charged with 12 counts after allegations that they fraudulently obtained documents for the renewal of a lease title that expired in 2021.
“The accused are alleged to have forged lease documents to secure a 50-year lease title for a 25-acre piece of land hosting the war memorial hospital,” the Office of the Director Public Prosecutions said in a statement.
Nakuru Governor vows to continue with
In a subsequent statement, Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika welcomed the move by the ODPP to charge the two directors, noting that the county would not relent in its efforts to reclaim the land its states is public.
But she did not comment on the plight of the patients stranded in the hospitals and caught in the crossfire between her administration and the Memorial Hospital tussle.
On her part, Senator Tabitha Karanja expressed her concerns about the fate of the hospital, noting that the court should consider the value of the investments made in the facility.
She described the War Memorial Hospital as one of the best private hospitals in the area and called upon politicians to avoid politicizing the matter.
“It is my prayer that whatever the verdict from the court, the hospital operations will continue uninterrupted, serving our people of Nakuru and beyond without further disruption,” Senator Karanja said.