Farmers face eviction from disputed land in Naivasha

Some Members of the Ndibithi farm in Ndabibi Naivasha hold a peaceful demo to protest the grabbing of part of their 1,004 acres by a private developer. The National Land Commission (NLC) has moved in to resolve the 30 year old dispute between the farmers and the developer. PHOTO: Antony Gitonga

Hundreds of farmers are facing eviction from a disputed piece of land they have been living on for almost half a decade.

A report by the director of survey in Nakuru County accuses the farmers in Naivasha of encroaching on a private land.

The over 1,000 acres have been under dispute between the farmers and former Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Benjamin Kipkulei.

The farmers claim that the land was set aside for the construction of churches and schools while Mr Kipkulei claims to have bought it from Agriculture Development Corporation (ADC)

The report is set to raise tension in the area as the disputed property already has schools, churches and hospitals.

Naivasha Assistant County Commissioner John Opondo confirmed receiving the report, adding that a meeting had been called in Ndabibi to brief the farmers.

He said that as per the report, the farmers from Ndibithi and Mwana Mwereri had encroached on the private farm and should move out.

"The surveyor visited the troubled farm in the company of the farmers and he has handed over his report which clearly shows where the boundaries are," he said.

While calling for peace, Opondo advised any aggrieved party to write to the National Land Commission (NLC) for action.

An area Member of the County Assembly said that 200 farmers bought the land back in 1973 from a colonial settler before the ownership dispute emerged in 1987.

He claimed that money and intimidation had been used for years to block farmers from getting justice and questioned the new development.

"Our grandparents are buried on this parcel of land which they legally bought, we have all the documents and we shall not be cowed," he said.

The farmers, led by their leader Francis Njogu, said that they would appeal against the decision adding that they had documents to prove ownership of the disputed property.

Njogu said that Kipkulei already owned over 16,000 acres.

He blamed ADC for selling the land to the Kipkulei, saying the parastatal had a tainted image in terms of land ownership.

"We were born and brought up in this area and we know where the beacons are and we shall not be intimidated by some tycoons who are keen to grab this public land," he said.