SECTIONS

Sirikwa squatters defy order to leave Mark Too's land

 A section of Sirikwa squatters at the 25,000-acre disputed land in Eldoret on November 21, 2022. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Efforts by the police to evict squatters from a 25,000-acre disputed land in Eldoret proved futile.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Kisumu ruled, last Friday, that the 1,000 Sirikwa Squatters were the rightful owners of the vast land in Uasin Gishu County.

But Fanikiwa Limited moved to the Supreme Court and secured orders stopping the squatters from entering and interfering with the property.

Police officers drawn from Kapseret, Kesses and Ainabkoi were Wednesday deployed to the property but the squatters stayed put.

They said they had not been served with an eviction order.

“We met security officers and we all read the Supreme Court orders. We are law-abiding and we can only move out of the land when we are served with an eviction order,” Sirikwa Squatters chairman Benjamin Ronoh said.

Uasin Gishu Police Commander Ayub Ali Gitonga said the security officers were still waiting for what he termed as a ‘proper interpretation of the orders issued by Supreme Court judge Njoki Ndung’u.

Justice Ndung’u on Tuesday suspended the execution of the Court of Appeal judgment of November 18, with a proviso that the order shall not extend to affect any rights vested in the respondents (Sirikwa Squatters) through the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

The squatters were also ordered not to interfere with the property of former nominated MP Mark Too, including his grave. The late politician owned about 2,000 acres out of the 25,000 acres of the property.

Stephen Tanui, an elder, who is also among the 1,000 squatters, said they have remained peaceful since last Friday.

“The Kalenjin culture prohibits anyone from destroying a graveyard and exhuming a body. We will stick to our culture,” the elder said.

The Uasin Gishu police commander said the police might be prompted to evict the squatters upon receipt of interpreted orders.

“We are urging the squatters to move out of the land as we wait for proper interpretation of the Supreme Court orders,” he said.

Sirikwa Squatters lawyer William Arusei has filed a notice of motion at the Supreme Court, seeking to have the orders by Justice Ndung’u referred to a five-judge bench.

They want the status quo maintained until the Supreme Court makes its ruling.

The squatters, in an affidavit by Benjamin Ronoh, said they peacefully entered the property after the Court of Appeal ruled that they are the rightful owners of the land.