A Nandi family has called on the State to step in a resolve a land dispute in which newly-appointed Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney is entangled. After a meeting that involved the influential Talai Community elders and locals in Nandi at the weekend, the parties involved appeared to be close to reaching a deal, even as the family of a leading sports official cried foul over highhandedness by authorities
Barnabas Korir, who serves as chairman for Athletics Kenya (AK) Nairobi branch and also a member of the National Executive Committee, said that they suspect underhand actions by police during the demarcation and fencing of the land was instigated by powerful forces in government.
“My brother, an MCA in the area, was arrested, humiliated and incarcerated in front of the constituents. My other brother, a chief in the area, was also arrested and harangued by the police and lands officials. All along, we were not told about fencing and demarcations, but, as things stand, the whole thing was choreographed by the officials and they finally ended up hiving our piece of land without our knowledge or consultation,” said Korir.
Karoney explained that she bought the land — registered as Nandi/Kamoiywo 760 — last November from one Linus Kogo, who produced a genuine land title during the sale process. “I bought the land from the owner, who produced a valid land title and details of the purchase can be confirmed at the Kapsabet Lands Registry by anyone wishing to do so,” she told journalists in Nairobi.
Karoney explained that the land had changed ownership three times from Maria Kabot Jelagat to her grandson Linus Kogo, through succession, and recently, to her.
On February 16, when police officers went to enforce the court order, Kogo was present and insisted that the order be complied with.
Korir insists that Maria Kabot had sold the land to their father, Abraham Titomet Tenai, who died in 1996. He said they have been using the land since without any dispute.
“It was only recently fenced off forcibly after the CS wrongfully obtained a title deed— apparently having been misled by people who fraudulently sold it to her,” he said.
Narrating the history of the land, Korir said that white settlers allotted the land to the family in the 1950s after most of the Talai community were moved when the Europeans occupied the white highlands.
“Four generations of our family have lived and tilled the land. Our parents, grazing cattle and farming on this land have educated us. After the release of many Talais involved in the freedom from various prisons across the country in Gwasi, Fort Hall, and Rusinga, our parents settled here. But, successive governments have always given the Talais a raw deal, including killing and even jailing Koitalel arap Samoei, our community’s scion.”
“However, even after the title was given to our clan by the government there was a sale that did not involve us at all. There was 16 acres that was sold without our knowledge after a relation effected the procedure without following the due process. The new CS however bought the land and hurriedly had it registered without our input at all. This is a swampy area and most of the cattle here depend on pasture from the place,” said Korir.
“We condemn the force and violence used against the family of Korir by those who fenced off the land,” Elder Christopher Koiyogi said.
Karoney has personally and through her lawyers, Kipkosgey Choge and Company Advocates, defended her “ownership” of the land.
The residents of the Kapsisiyo area also claimed there is a plan to build an airstrip and hotel without involving the community through input by the community.