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Samburu herders seek orders on disputed land

KENYA
By Job Weru | May 10th 2016
Herders, who are members of Losesia Group Ranch in Samburu East at the High Court in Nyeri on May 9, 2016, where they move to block group ranch's officials from allocating land to individuals. The members claim the officials have been allocating tracts of land to individuals who then sell to outsiders, hence shrinking their grazing fields. Hearing of the case was set for June 29, while the court placed an injunction against further developments in the affected land. (PHOTO: JOB WERU/ STANDARD)

Hundreds of Samburu herders have moved to court to block officials of a ranch from allocating the land to individuals.

Losesia Group Ranch belongs to the community and has traditionally been used as a grazing reserve during dry seasons.

The herders appeared before Nyeri High Court Justice Lucy Waithaka yesterday, where they sought orders to stop the officials from further demarcation and allocation of the land to individuals.

The herders, who travelled from Archers Post in Samburu from as early as 4am jammed the court room and corridors seeking justice for their land.

The documents they filed in court through lawyer Charles Karweru indicated that some 37 individuals both from within and without the local community, clandestinely allocated themselves private parcels of land ranging from 8,000 to 20,000 acres.

The community woke up to this shock recently when some of the individuals sold 'their' parcels to private developers

Land adjudication on the expansive ranch started in 1981 in the East Waso Adjudication Section of what is now Samburu East sub-county.

"The community has gone to court to challenge the legality of the allocations of these 37 parcels to individuals" Mr Karweru said.

Dipa Lesarge said the officials were taking advantage of the community while land grabbers were plotting to earn millions of shillings from selling the parcels. Tom Lmakiya said the community wants nothing short of revocation of allocations and titles.
"We rely on these lands to graze our cattle and that is why we moved to court to seek revocation of all titles which have been issued," he said.

The case will be heard on June 29. The judge also ordered ranch officials against further transactions until the matter is heard and determined.

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