Squatters, Mau Mau kin battle for 100-acre land

Some of Uhuru Welfare Association alleging to be Mau Mau descendants with their lawyer Kipkoech Terer (Far left), outside Nakuru Law Courts on February 24, 2021. [Daniel Chege, Standard]

The hearing of a property case between Mau Mau descendants and members of a self-help group has started after more than two decades.

Appearing before Justice Anthony Ombwayo, Joseph Chege, the chairman of the Njoro Golf Club Squatters' Self-Help Group, defended the ownership of the 100-acre property in Njoro within Nakuru County.

Mr Chege said that the 200 members rightfully own the land through their parents who were employed at Njoro Golf Club since the 1930s.

He said their parents were allocated land by the club between 1930s and 1960s, when he was born, he inherited the land in the 1990s along with others.

But during cross-examinations, he was unable to give an exact date when they occupied the land.

“I cannot remember the exact year but it is in the 1930s. We took occupation from our parents in 1996 and have been in possession since then,” said Chege.

He failed to explain why the allotment letter they were issued with for the land had no seal. Chege also admitted that they did not pay Sh10,000 required for the allotment letter.

Chege could also not explain why some of the settlers were allocated land even though their parents were not working at the club.

He pleaded with the court to dismiss the case by the 723 Mau Mau descendants, who wanted them evicted from the land.

The Mau Mau descendants, who form the Uhuru Welfare Association, moved to the High Court to seek new eviction orders against the squatters.

This was after they won the land case on March 2, 2012, before a Chief Magistrate’s court and obtained a decree to evict the squatters. However, the squatters refused to vacate the land.

Through their lawyers, Kipkoech Terer and Paul Wanjir, the descendants want the members and trustees of the club's self-help group forcefully removed from the 100-acre land.

“The court should issue a fresh eviction order against the squatters’ group and its directors and order the same be implemented by auctioneers, with assistance from the police,” they submitted.

In their documents, the descendants say the association was allocated the land on June 8, 1999, through deliberation by the county council of Nakuru.

The documents state that the association now consists of descendants of men and women who liberated the nation from colonial rule.

“The applicant (association) was allocated land in Njoro by the Ministry of Lands and Settlement through the Commissioner of Lands via a letter dated November 6, 2001,” read the application.

Court records show that an ex-parte judgment was entered in the association’s favour on March 2, 2012, and an eviction order was issued on May 8, 2012, against the squatters’ group.

However, the decree, according to the association, has not been effected to date owing to intervening applications, and disputes with lawyers among other factors.

The hearing continues.