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IDPs forcefully move to land after 13-year wait for the state

By Kennedy Gachuhi | January 20th 2021 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Youths carry a makeshift house from Kwa Muhu IDP camp as they relocate to Kwa Muhu farm after they forcefully sub-divided the land among themselves on Monday. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

More than 170 families affected by the 2007/08 post-election violence and camping at Kwa Muhu Farm in Nyandarua County on Monday sub-divided the land. 

For 13 years, the families have been living in makeshift structures at the edge of the 523-acre farm waiting for the government to officially sub-divide and resettle them on the land.

Yesterday morning, the angry families all woke up charged and directed their energies to sending a message of their impatience with the government’s delay since 2009.

A surveyor's tape measure, jembes, pangas and any other tool they found came in handy as elders supervised the youth in demarcating the land and installing temporary beacons.

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Court injunction

The police who got wind of the happenings at the farm, which has a court injunction, had a hard time controlling the angry beneficiaries who ignored their orders and presence.

The energetic youth teamed up in carrying the makeshift houses from the camp, each family determined to spend the night on their respective parcels of land as the police watched in disbelief.

Women were busy preparing their new compounds, some digging pit latrines ready to restart their life in their new homes.

Anastasia Waithera, a beneficiary, explained their pain of living at the camp despite the government selectively picking them from Mawingu Camp in the same county for resettlement.

“The government used its resources to bring us here. Those of us aged 65 and above by then were selected as beneficiaries of Kwa Muhu farm. To date, we are still living in a camp on the promised land,” said Waithera.

Internally displaced persons who have been living at Kwa Muhu camp relocate to Kwa Muhu farm. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

She said the delay to sub-divide the land has made it difficult for them to stabilise their lives even as some of them succumbed to cold-related illnesses.

“We have been denied our basic rights for a decade now. Our shelters are temporary and in deplorable conditions. We have lost over 20 members. All we wanted is for the land to be shared and we would work our way out to build ourselves semi-permanent homes,” said Waithera.

David Ndung’u, another beneficiary, said they had subdivided the land among themselves, with each getting an equal share of two and a quarter acres. He said their impatience was aggravated by continued deaths at the camp before they could receive their share.

“The deceased members were buried in public cemeteries. Now that we have sub-divided the land, we shall bury them here. It is now our land and home for our children. Years of pain are over,” said Ndung’u.

Joseph Njoroge said government officials have been visiting the camp and promising them that surveyors would soon sub-divide the land, but this remained but a promise years on.

Though they had no trained surveyors yesterday, Njoroge said they had handled the process with their basic knowledge on the size of land, leaving room for the government to give clear demarcations.

“We have made the work easier for the government. It can now send its surveyors to align the boundaries and roads according to its standards. We could not wait any longer,” said Njoroge.

County Commissioner Benson Leparmorijo, however, decried the move, saying this was against the law as there was a case pending in court over the land.

“Some people who lay claim on the land moved to court and the case is yet to be concluded. This is why the government has not sub-divided the land. They should have been more patient. Their actions now complicate the matter,” said Leparmorijo.

Kwa Muhu Farm Nyandarua County PEV victims
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