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Mzee Kenyatta's dancers demand land settlement

By Nikko Tanui | January 24th 2017 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Rift Valley Council of Elders Chairman Gilbert Kabage addressed the press in Londiani town. Kenya first president Mzee Jommo Kenyatta favorite dance troupe has warned President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto that they will boycott the August polls if the leaders don't immediately allocate them land.

About 700 descendants of the Nyakinyua dance troupe that used to entertain President Jomo Kenyatta in the '60s and '70s are still living as squatters.

Surviving members of the dance troupe that serenaded Kenya's first president until his sunset years are now accusing successive governments of reneging on a promise to settle them and their families.

The elderly artistes - most of them ailing - and their dependents have been living with relatives on Kahorora Farm near Londiani town in Kipkelion East constituency after they were evicted from Shauri village in 1988.

The 1,000 acres was located near Londiani Forestry College and Londiani Secondary school.

The dancers, who are now too old to make a living from their art, are mobilising their families and sympathisers to boycott the August 8 polls in protest.

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Rift Valley Council of Elders chairman Gilbert Kabage said it was unacceptable for the ageing and ailing members of the troupe to remain landless despite the first president of the republic instructing the then provincial commissioner, Isaiah Mathenge, to allocate the group land in 1963.

"It is sad that upon the death of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, members of the Nyakinyua dance troupe were evicted from the land, which had been earmarked for them, and forced to seek accommodation among their relatives on Kahorora Farm where they have been living on handouts and in abject poverty," said Mr Kabage.

He said the group and their families had faithfully voted for the successive governments in the hopes of being settled.

The group and their peers now want President Uhuru Kenyatta to follow through on his father's promise to settle them, or lose their support.

"The surviving members of the Nyakinyua dance troupe will boycott the August polls if President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto fail to settle the group once and for all," said Kabage.

This is not the first time remnants of the dancers, who were perhaps the most famous entertainers in Kenyatta's time, are trying to follow through on the first president's directive to have them settled.

Last year, another group from the retired dancers took to the streets of Nairobi protesting against the grabbing of land they said was a gift to them from Mzee Kenyatta.

Jomo Kenyatta land disputes settlement
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