Farm owner to get Sh106m after state used land to settle poll IDPs

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who have been living at Kwa Muhu camp relocated to Kwa Muhu Farm after they forcefully subdivided the land among themselves on January 18, 2021. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The Senate Committee on Lands has given the government the nod to pay Sh106 million to the owner of Muhu farm where the state settled 1,300 families affected by the 2007/08 post-election violence.

It also proposed the immediate subdivision of the 523 acres that has been in dispute for 12 years.

The state settled the families but had not paid for the land, leading to a protracted battle with owner Wanjiku Muhu. The consequences of the delay in payment included failure to develop the land or farm on it.

But on Tuesday, the committee led by chairman Mwangi Githiomi, who is also Nyandarua County senator, met senior government officials including the Ministry of Lands officials.

Githiomi said: “It is a shame that 12 years after the IDPs were resettled here, the government has not settled the payments and they cannot develop the land. They cannot even farm as the owner has not been paid.”

He went on: “As the committee, we have agreed the government pays the owner in a month. Subdivision of the land will be done so that each family can get their portion as well as title deeds.”

Ol Kalou MP David Kiaraho and politician Thuo Gachino criticised the government for the delay. “This matter must be concluded once and for all,” Kiaraho said.

Gachino said: “They cannot build permanent structures since there is a court order. They have been sleeping out in the cold for 12 years.”

Camp chairman Joseph Githaiga called on the government to speed up the process. “Once the subdivision is done, the government should provide us with building materials just like it did to other IDPs,” he said.