Land dispute erupts over Ngong-Riruta railway line

Kajiado North MP Onesmas Ngogoyo addresses a press conference outside his office in Kajiado. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

Two Maasai clans are at loggerheads over the ownership of the land where the Ngong-Riruta railway line is being constructed.

The railway line was commissioned by President William Ruto a few days ago.

The Keekonyokie clan claims that the land, measuring 1,550 hectares, belongs to them, and they want the railway project to be halted until they are consulted.

They say they donated the land to the government for a veterinary services and research centre, which ended many years ago.

“This piece of land belongs to the Keekonyokie community. We only donated the land to the government to use as a veterinary services and research centre, a project that ended many years ago. Therefore, it should be reverted back to us,” said Kajiado West MP George Sunguya, who led a meeting of the clan on Tuesday.

Former MP Moses Sakunda said the community supported the government but felt that public participation should have preceded the commissioning of the railway line.

However, Kajiado North MP Onesmus Ngogoyo wants the government project to continue uninterrupted. He accused those opposed to the railway line of being greedy and wanting to allocate the land to themselves.

“We cannot stop a government project because of a few individuals who are just driven by greed. We know them very well. They want to divide this government land amongst themselves,” he said.

The land was donated to the British government in the 1950s for a veterinary services and research centre, but the project failed and the land was not given back to the community.

The residents want the government to implement a parliamentary committee report on the land. The report, by the National Assembly Lands Committee chaired by Alex Mwiru, stated that the land belonged to the community, which had a right to repossess it.

The committee noted that the government did not utilize the land, leading to the collapse of the intended project, and it should therefore be given back to its original owners.