SECTIONS

New owners remain unmoved even as Supreme Court intervenes in row

Benjamin Rono (left), the chairperson of Sirikwa Squatters Group, addressing members in Eldoret on Friday, November 20, 2022. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

Even after the Supreme Court temporarily stopped Sirikwa Squatters Group from taking over the 25,000-acre disputed farm in Uasin Gishu, representatives of the squatters remain upbeat they will have the last laugh.

The over 1,000 squatters feel there is a plot by some individuals, whom they did not name, to deny them what is rightfully theirs.

Immediately after the Court of Appeal ruled in their favour last week, they moved to occupy part of the land that cuts across Kesses and Kapseret constituencies in Uasin Gishu County.

There efforts to establish temporary homes, however, were futile after they were forcibly moved out by security agencies last weekend.

They had moved in despite the Supreme Court ordering stay of the Court of Appeal judgment.

Benjamin Rono, the chairperson of Sirikwa Squatters Group, claimed three people were missing, 12 cows, a tractor and several iron sheets were destroyed during the eviction, adding that they had raised their concerns with the police.

He said a number of youths were also arrested but were later released.

“We are not happy and are living in fear. Although we were accorded freedom we are yet to feel it,” said Rono.

The squatter are laying claim to the entire parcel of land. The only facilities they have promised to spare are the public utilities, including the airport, the university among others.

A section of Mark Too's disputed farm. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Rono said around 17,000 acres are available for the Sirikwa Squatters Group.

He defended the members of Sirikwa Squatters Group over claims they had marked some property as theirs.

“Sirikwa members know what they are doing, we have been guided on the boundary of our land by our surveyor and whatever we are doing is within what we own,” he said.

Those complaining, he said, should move to court.

He noted that as Sirikwa Squatters Group they are not fighting over the land as already the court has pronounced itself on the matter.

He said that those who were claiming that they were not aware of such a matter being in court were lying and were seeking sympathy.

“This issue has been in the public domain for a long time. It did not start yesterday,” he said.

He said during the hearing of the Court of Appeal case, there was an advertisement inviting those who were interested in joining the matter.

He added that the Sirikwa squatters were not aware of the number of people who are occupying the land.