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Aggrieved squatters seek review of ruling on 25,000-acre property

Rift Valley
 Sirikwa squatters are addressed by their chairman Benjamin Rono (holding a stick) and advocate William Arusei among other leaders in Eldoret on November 20, 2022. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

Squatters who recently lost the battle for a 25,000-acre land in Uasin Gishu at the Supreme Court are back to the apex court for review.

Sirikwa Squatters have sought a review of the judgement rendered on December 15, on several grounds.

In its verdict, the Supreme Court held that the Sirikwa squatters did not have a legitimate expectation to acquire and be allocated the disputed land located in Kapseret, Uasin Gishu County.

The dissatisfied squatters, who had won the battle at the High Court and the Court of Appeal in the long-standing legal fight, have told the Supreme Court that it failed to consider crucial evidence before determining that they had no share in the land.

The squatters made an application for review on December 20 and sought a certificate  of urgency, which was declined by the apex court.

The Supreme Court, through its Deputy Registrar Nelly Kariuki, slated a virtual mention of the case on January 31.

In its notice of motion, Sirikwa Squatters through lawyer William Arusei sought the reinstatement of the Court of Appeal verdict of November 18, 2022, which ruled in their favour, pending the review.

Among the grounds listed by the squatters in their quest for review is what the applicants say was the Supreme Court’s reliance on new evidence, which was not brought before the Land and Environment Court and the Court of Appeal.

The squatters also listed the setting aside of crucial evidence, among them a Ministry of Lands letter dated July 17, 2007, which stated that the suit parcels belonged to them.

The squatters argued that the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to look at the new evidence brought before it during the appeal.

According to the applicants’ grounds for review, the Supreme Court entertained the contestation of facts instead of delving into the constitutionality of the appeal.

“The Supreme Court judgement, instead of dealing with constitutional questions, with constitutional grounds and deciding on constitutional grounds, went into the arena of the Court of Appeal and of the Environment and Land Court….”

According to the applicants, Sirikwa Squatters comprised over 500 families whose forefathers originally occupied the property.

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