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Nyeri court throws out 1970s squatters’ land case

CENTRAL
By MURIMI MWANGI | January 29th 2014

By MURIMI MWANGI

KENYA: A Nyeri court has declined to award 500 squatters a parcel of land formerly owned by former Cabinet minister Jackson Angaine.

The suit pitted the squatters against the State, a horticultural company and a firm owned by the family of Angaine (now deceased). Appellate judges Philomena Mwilu, Martha Koome and Otieno Odek dismissed the squatters’ suit dating back to the 1970s.

The dispute over the 546.2 acres dates back to 1970s when former president Jomo Kenyatta allegedly promised to resettle the squatters on the land curved out from Mount Kenya forest.

Six forest officers allegedly visited the former president at his Gatundu home and convinced him to settle them and the other squatters on the land.

TIME-BARRED

The president allegedly promised to consult with Hon Angaine and the then Minister for Natural Resources William Omamo Odongo on the issue.

On September 9, 1970, President Kenyatta allegedly issued a directive for the two ministers to survey the forest to identify suitable land for resettlement.

Lady Justice Mary Kasango in 2011 dismissed the suit on among other grounds, that it was time-barred.

Justice Kasango further indicated that the suit was filed in the name of one Lucy Miringo Munyi, while the names of rest of the alleged squatters were illegibly handwritten. The appellate judges dismissed the appeal, saying the former president’s promise did not constitute an enforceable interest on the land.

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