Court throws out case by second group claiming Kirima property

Former politician Gerishon Kirima. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The Environment and Lands Court in Nairobi has dismissed another case filed by a group claiming former politician Gerishon Kirima’s 100 acres of land.

Justice Ann Omollo in her judgment said that the group of 680 persons led by Joseph Omito could not ride on the United Nations guidelines on eviction to continue living in the land.

In the case, Omito claimed that the group was waiting for Justice Samson Okong’o to settle a separate case that had been filed by 300 persons in order to argue theirs.

However, Justice Omollo ruled that her colleague’s judgment was clear that they should negotiate with the family in a bid to buy the parcels of land they are occupying.

She was of the view that it was unclear what the group intended to do if the court barred Kirima’s family from evicting them.

“The decree issued in ELC 1257 of 2014 as the lead file was self-executory and it gave the Applicants options to negotiate with the Respondents for a buy-out. Therefore, they have no legal basis to argue that they will suffer irreparable loss. I am not persuaded of any merit in the application,” said Justice Omollo.

Omito’s group was claiming 65 acres of the property.

Initially, Justice Okong’o had ordered at least 300 persons who claimed 80 acres after allegedly living and developing the part for more than 12 years to leave before December 31, 2023, failing which, their property will be demolished. In the case, the alleged squatters led by John Otieno claimed that from the time they occupied the property, Kirima never appeared or contested their occupancy.

According to Otieno, none of the 300 persons he represented knew the owner of 472.5 acres of land for over 14 years.

Justice Okong’o found that Otieno was untruthful as he alleged that his group started occupying the property in the 1990s.

However, the judge observed that he changed his story to 2,000, then finally claimed that he built a house in 2011, three years before he sued Kirima’s family.

“In the absence of evidence as to when each of the applicants entered the suit property, and which portion of the property is occupied by each applicant, the applicant’s claim to a portion of LR no 6825/2 measuring 80 acres by adverse possession is not proved,” ruled Justice Okong’o.

Kamatuto Self Help Group, a second batch that claimed 160 acres alleged that they were allocated the portion by the Commissioner of Lands.

The group led by Stephen Maina claimed that it had 1,310 members who allegedly had been mining building stones from the part of the land. They too alleged that they had occupied the land for over 15 years.

However, Kirima’s family argued that the portion had a slaughterhouse, and servant quarters and the remaining part had grazing fields.

According to the family, Kamatuto never sought permission from the politician before putting up structures on the property.