Senate hopeful Thomas Mwadeghu promises to take back land

Taita Taveta Senate hopeful Thomas Mwadeghu when he appeared before Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning in Parliament, Nairobi on November 16, 2020. [David Njaaga, Standard]

A Senate aspirant has promised to repossess 3,000 acres allocated to a Kajiado-based ranching group.

Mr Thomas Mwadeghu, who is also the former Wundanyi MP, said the land was illegally allocated to the Rombo Group ranch in Kajiado.

Addressing a series of political rallies in the Wundanyi constituency, Mr Mwadeghu faulted the county leadership for doing little to revert the land to the local community where residents are still living as squatters.

Mr Mwadeghu said a 2020 land deal between Taita Taveta and Kajiado counties has worsened the situation.

“The two governors signed the agreement at Rombo trading centre and the document favoured Kajiado County,” he said.

Mr Mwadeghu told supporters at Wesu trading centre and Wundanyi town that if he wins the senate seat he will ensure the disputed land is used to settle thousands of squatters.

“I will do everything possible to reclaim the land.”

In an earlier interview, Governor Granton Samboja said the deal signalled a fresh start for a lasting solution and peaceful co-existence between the border communities.

“It marks the end of a 50-year-old boundary dispute between Taita Taveta and Kajiado. It is my county’s desire to see to it that the boundary dispute pitting us against Makueni and Kwale will yield a similar outcome,” he said.

At the time, Kajiado Governor Joseph Lenku urged the border communities to respect the demarcation to ensure peace. “We have demonstrated that boundary disputes between counties can be resolved without going to court,” he said.

Some local leaders disowned the deal including Senator Jones Mwaruma and former Taveta MP Mwacharo Kubo, 

In an interview with The Standard, Mr Kubo, who served as the Taveta MP from 1974 to 1992 said the residents had for decades lived in peace before the deal was signed.

“Njukini is a cosmopolitan area where Taitas, Kambas, Tavetas and Maasais, among other communities, lived peacefully before the agreement was signed. I was the area MP for a long time and there was never any conflict,” Mr Kubo said.

He said the two governors did not involve communities before the deal was signed.

Senator Mwaruma added that local leaders were also not involved.

“The agreement could be legal but the only problem is that local leaders were not involved. Other leaders also have a stake on the issue,” he said.