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NLC directs state to resettle over 200 Chemelil squatters

MONEY & CAREERS
By Edward Kosut | February 15th 2021

The National Land Commission (NLC) has directed the government to issue a parcel of land for resettlement of over 200 squatters in Chemelil, Nandi County. 

Through a letter dated February 9 to Nandi county, the government was directed to reserve the land from Tindiret to Chemelil in Kisumu County for the squatters.

The 1,440 acres of land on the border of Nandi and Kisumu counties was initially a sisal estate owned by a British firm before the lease expired.

The Nandi county administration petitioned the commission after the British firm allegedly got an irregular extension of the lease. NLC cancelled the lease opening the land to hundreds of squatters.

In the verdict, NLC directed the county government to review the land and resurvey before the squatters are resettled according to a letter signed by commissioner Reginald Okumu. 

“Kindly ensure that the public utilities, open spaces and fragile ecosystems are identified and preserved during planning and survey as stipulated in the land laws, rules and regulations,” reads the letter to the county department of lands and natural resources. 

For Christopher Choge, 85, the long battle by the squatters has yielded fruit and they will get to own land, years after they were kicked out to pave way for the sisal estate.

“I have been landless for years and now justice has prevailed despite legal obstacles we have gone through. At long last our struggles have been noticed and rewarded,” Mr Choge said.

Kipng’etich Chepkwony, the spokesperson for Sirwa squatters said the NLC verdict was a milestone for people battling for their rightful land.

“Our families were terrorised and rendered homeless and landless. Men were put in custody over baseless charges in their attempts to express their grievance to the relevant authorities,” narrated Mr Chepkwony.

Governor Stephen Sang (pictured above) expressed optimism that the commission will rule in their favour on pending land disputes.

“As the county government of Nandi, we shall use all the resources and avenues to champion for our people’s right as far as historical injustices are concerned,” he told over 50 squatters representatives in his office.

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