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Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma rejects proposal to resettle Thessalia IDPs

By Dalton Nyabundi | August 10th 2016



Kisumu county governor Jack Ranguma addresses journalists at his office over land row along the Kisumu-Nandi boarder. He said the land was donated by the Moi government to resettle IDPs unlike the proposal by the Lands Commission to offer the land to others not from the county. (Photo: Denish Ochieng/ Standard)

Governor Jack Ranguma has refused to help resettle 1,500 internally displaced persons.

Mr Ranguma rejected a proposal by the County Lands Management Board that either the National Lands Commission (NLC) or the county government finds alternative land for resettlement of Thessalia and Jaber IDPs, saying the county government was not consulted before resolutions were arrived at. The two groups were uprooted from their homes during the 1992 tribal clashes and have been living on a small piece of land in Muhoroni.

In 2013, Kibigori Plantation Scheme on the troubled border of Kisumu and Nandi counties was identified for their relocation and each family paid Sh10,120 for two acres. But they have been unable to move to the land due to hostility from current dwellers, the Nyangore squatters, who said they had lived there for over 40 years.

Ranguma's rejection of the proposal came barely two months after Kisumu County Commissioner John Elungata dismissed a directive from NLC that his office offers security for the IDPs to enable them move to the new land.

He said the dispute over the land was beyond security and urged NLC Chairman Muhammad Swazuri to settle the ownership dispute first.

And on May 23, the three parties laying claim to the land met the Kisumu County Lands Management Board to broker a deal.

Minutes of the meeting held at the Kisumu Ministry of Lands office and attended by representatives of the squatters show that it was agreed the land be given to the Nyangore Group, a decision the two other groups contest.

"It has been resolved that the Nyongore group be settled on the land in question and be issued with ownership documents. Alternative land should be acquired by by NLC or the county government to settle the Thessalia and Jaber squatters," read the minutes signed by Kisumu County Lands Management Board Chairperson Pollyne Owoko and Secretary Domitla Gati.

Defending their decision, Ms Owoko said the recommendation was to avoid clashes over the Kibigori land. The proposal, she said, came after the Nyangore squatters claimed ownership and vowed to reject new settlers.

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