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Farmers now want police post moved, claim land ownership

By Stephen Rutto | March 28th 2020

A stand-off has ensued between a group of Uasin Gishu farmers and security personel, with the former demanding eviction of police officers from a post established 12 years ago.

Over 4,000 farmers, under Kesses Division Farmers Federation, accuse the police of taking over their one-acre piece of land worth Sh3 million, a store and offices valued at Sh4 million.

They said the police were allowed to operate from the property in January 2008 but never moved out. The property hosts Kessess police post, located along the Eldoret-Nairobi highway.

A tussle over ownership of the prime land and offices intensified in October after farmers, who claim to own the property and constructed the store and offices using their shares, held protests outside the Kesses police post.

Last year, before the harvest season, the farmers drawn from Kesses, Ainabkoi and Kapseret constituencies demanded access to the disputed property, which they have been denied since 2014. They have now decided to take the police service to court for eviction from their property.

In a letter to Officer Commanding the Kesses police post dated March 10, 2020 and copied to Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai, the farmers and a human rights body have threatened to go to court to seek eviction orders against the officers from the disputed land.

The letter accused the police of forcefully taking over the farmers’ store and offices, and resisting calls to vacate.

According to the federation, the police had been allowed to use the one-acre piece of land during the Post-Election Violence to ease operations but later, erected structures and have not legally acquired the land or relocated the post.

“Take notice that unless you stop acts of trespass, cease from further interfering with our clients’ physical ownership of the land and vacate the aforesaid parcel within 14 days, we have express and mandatory instructions to institute civil proceedings seeking payment of profits and general damages and order of eviction of the officers from your clients piece of land,” the letter by Mukabane and Kagunza Advocates read.

Federation secretary James Muchina said farmers have no storage facility to keep their harvests, seeds and fertiliser.

Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Abdirasack Jaldesa said he was aware of the stand-off and will lead security officials to meet the farmers.

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