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Maasai herders sue Nyachae and State over land

By | May 12th 2010

By Vincent Mabatuk

A group of Maasai herdsmen want thousands of acres of land in Mau Narok reverted to the community.

The herdsmen have filed a suit at the Constitutional and Judicial Review Division in Nairobi High Court, but referred to Nakuru for hearing.

The group claims powerful civil servants in previous governments illegally acquired more than 30,000 acres of their grazing land.

On Tuesday, Justice Emukule Anyala directed the group to serve the remaining parties — former Head of Civil Service Simeon Nyachae and the Settlement Fund Trustees.

Mr Nyachae also served as a Cabinet minister in the Kanu Government. The group further want the court to issue orders compelling the Government to repossess land from the estate of the late Mbiyu Koinange, who served in Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s administration as a Cabinet minister.

In the petition, the group argues their ancestors were wrongfully and without their consent, driven out of the fertile grazing land in Mau Narok at the beginning of the 20th Century by the British colonial government.

They have asked the court to declare the Maasai of Mau Narok are entitled to compensation from the Government, which they accuse of endorsing wrongful dispossession of their land.

Ancestral land

Their lawyer Thomas Letangule, has sued Nyachae, the administration of the late Koinange’s estate, the Attorney General and the registered settlement Fund Trustees.

According to the suit, Mr Letangule on behalf of the community, argues the resettlement carried out by the Government after independence failed to resettle the community back to their ancestral land.

The Government instead allocated the vast land to two powerful individuals serving in the Government.

The case will be mentioned on June 7 when all parties or their representatives will appear.

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