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Maasai threaten to block SGR project at disputed Kedong ranch

RIFT VALLEY
By Antony Gitonga | April 15th 2016

Members of the Maasai community have now vowed to block the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from passing through the disputed Kedong ranch in Naivasha.

The irate members warned that they would also stop the planned construction of the industrial park and the move to drill more geothermal wells on the over 77,000 acre farm.

This emerged when over 500 members of the community blocked the busy Mai Mahiu-Narok road near Suswa town to protest over the ownership of the land.

During the demo, transport was paralysed as the community lashed out at the First Family over the ownership of the land which has a protracted dispute.

The protest follows a newspaper advert by Kedong ranch limited that it was the rightful owner of the land that lies between Nakuru, Kajiado and Narok counties.

Area MCA Kipas Lengues questioned the caveat placed on the land, noting that there was a case going on in the court of appeal.

"We shall not seat back and watch as our ancestral land is grabbed by unscrupulous traders and we ask the President to intervene on this," he said.

One of the community leaders, Mike Roka called on donors involved in financing the SGR, the industrial park and geothermal drilling to stop funding the projects.

Roka wondered why Kedong limited was ignoring the ongoing legal process adding that there were over 28,000 families living on the disputed land.

"We respect the rule of law and we are asking Kedong to do so also but we shall not be intimidated by newspaper adverts," he said.

An elder, Samuel Salita challenged the First family to come clean on the issue of the land following allegations that it had a share in the vast farm.

"We shall make sure that all ongoing projects on this land which we got from our ancestral fathers do not continue until we get justice," he said.

A mother of five, Lilian Leson said that they had lived on the parcel of land for years and had even constructed schools and knew no other home.

"We voted in this government with the hope that it would assist us but the community has continued to be oppressed mainly on land issues," he said.

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