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Court declines to stop eviction of Kedong squatters

RIFT VALLEY
By Daniel Chege | November 13th 2019

Lawyer Thomas Letangule (center) with Lawyer Prof Tom Ojienda (right) flanked by representatives of Maasai Communities addressing the press outside Nakuru Law courts on November 12, 2019. [Kipsang Joseph/Standard]

Over 30,000 squatters have suffered a blow after a court declined to stop their eviction from a 76,000-acre land at Kedong ranch in Mai Mahiu.

The government plans to build a dry port on the land.

Environment and Lands Court judge Dalmas Ohungo yesterday said it would be improper for the court to grant temporary orders stopping the eviction before a petition the squatters have filed is heard and determined.

The community is claiming ownership of land that is part of the vast ranch along the Maai Mahiu-Narok road, where a dry port and a special economic zone are to be set up.

The government has already acquired 1,000 acres of land for the construction of the Inland Container Depot (ICD).

Justice Ohungo certified the case as urgent.

“The petitioners are to serve the respondents with the petition. The case will come up for an inter partes hearing on November 26,” said the judge.

The community moved to court to stop their eviction from the ranch and stop the construction of Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), through the ranch to the dry port.

They sued Kedong Ranch Limited, Kenya Railways Corporation, National Land Commission and the Attorney General.

“That Kenya Railways Corporation be restrained from evicting the petitioners or in any way deal with the suit land in a way that is detrimental to the petitioners,” reads the application.

Lawyer Thomas Letangule, acting for the petitioners, said the ground was volatile and if the orders sought were not granted, the settlers would suffer. "The ranch is the only home they have known since birth."

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