Squatters in fresh land dispute with investor

Dozens of squatters have been left homeless after a developer demolished their houses built on disputed land.

Local leaders said the piece of land in question is in Python Hill, Taveta sub-county.

Taveta OCPD Francis Warui said yesterday that the unnamed investor bought the land from the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC).

“The investor bought the land from AFC and fenced it with some squatters inside. He will sort out the matter with the squatters,” said Mr warui.

The land was initially owned by former Taveta MP Basil Criticos.

Mr Warui spoke after Taveta Deputy County Commissioner Stanley Kamande said he was not aware of the incident.

“I am off duty. Talk to the OCPD,” said Mr Kamande in a text message.

Jones Fundi Maskuj, an MCA whose area has been affected, said the investor who bought the 1,000- acre plot had an agreement with the squatters to compensate them, but he was yet to do.

Houses flattened

“The investor had agreed to compensate the squatters before evicting them,” said Mr Maskuji.

“But he went ahead and evicted them without paying them a cent. Their houses have been flattened by bulldozers.”

Warui, however, denied the squatters had been evicted as claimed by local leaders.

He explained that only one squatter had been affected after his house was demolished by the investor who was constructing a road through the land.

“The affected squatter came to my office yesterday morning but declined to record a statement. He said that he had abandoned the house which is located inside the private property,” said warui.

“I personally went to the farm and there is no destruction going on as claimed by some leaders. The reports that the investor is destroying squatters’ houses are false.”

Last week, Governor Granton Samboja and three MCAs Chrispus Tondoo, Maskuji and Chanzu Khamadi warned they would mobilise residents to destroy a fence surrounding the disputed land.

The governor and the MCAs told Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i during the burial of a General Service Unit (GSU) officer, who was killed in the dusitD2 attack, that the land belongs to the local community.

Powerful individuals

Mr Tondoo, who is also the assembly’s deputy speaker, claimed that most land in the region had been illegally allocated to powerful individuals, who had fenced their parcels of land off at the expense of the locals. Most of the residents are living as squatters, he added.

“There are too many electric fences that have been erected by well-connected individuals who have deprived residents of their land rights,” said Tondoo.

Dr Matiang’i did not respond to the leaders.

Earlier, Mr Kamande and area MP Naomi Shaban warned local leaders against inciting residents to invade private properties.

They warned the leaders that they would be arrested if they misled people to invade private property.