No end in sight for Kanyakwar land row

Kanyakwar elder Mbogo Ayoki (centre), with residents when they addressed the press on the 900-ha land row in Kisumu. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The battle for the controversial 900-hectare Kanyakwar land could head back to court following fresh misunderstanding between the county government and alleged owners.

Residents of Kisumo, Kajulu and Kolwa, who lay claim to the prime land located along Kisumu-Kakamega Road, now claim the county government is frustrating their efforts to get back their land which they lost over 50 years ago.

Through their group, Kikako Welfare Association, the residents have threatened to head back to court should the county government fail to implement the recommendations of the National Land Commission which handed them back the land after four decades of search for justice.

Hundreds of descendants of the squatters congregated at Kanyakwar, where they vowed to make a final plea to Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o to resolve their plight or they head to court.

“It is sad that even after the Government gave us back our land, we continue to suffer and people continue to grab our land and develop while others sell,” said Mbogo Ayoki, the association’s chairman.

According to the residents, they were evicted from their land in 1978 following a 1976 Gazette notice which wanted to use the area to expand Kisumu municipality.

“It was a community land and it had not been adjudicated by the time our parents were evicted, so it was a difficult case. But we are glad that the National Land Commission got in and sorted it out,” said Ayoki.

In March, this year, the NLC, in surprise verdict, directed that the land be returned to the residents as they were the original owners.

The commission, however, directed the county government to form a task force which would look into the process of returning the people into their land. This has not taken off yet.

Ayoki said the delay in the formation of the task force was putting them more vulnerable as people continue to invade the land.

County Director of Information Aloice Ager yesterday admitted that the residents have met the governor over the land, but denied knowledge of the impending formation of a task force.