Administrators, lobby group row over disputed 2,600-acre land

Police officers manning the disputed 2,600-acre land in Njoro, Nakuru. [Daniel Chege, Standard]

A war of words is raging between the National Government administrators and a civil rights group over a disputed 2,600-acre land in Njoro, Nakuru.

The land is at the centre of a court case between more than 300 families, who are members of the Mosem Enterprise Ltd, and Egerton University and Prof Robert Gesimba.

The Environment and Land Court issued orders against the county, the university and the Attorney General to stop interfering.

On December 20, last year, Justice Anthony Ombwayo stopped any dealings on the Ngongongeri land until a petition by Ezekiel Kesendany, a civil rights activist, was determined.

On March 15, Justice Lynette Omollo barred Gisemba from interfering on the matter. “The defendant (Gisemba) is restrained from trespassing or encroaching on the land,” ruled Omollo.

But now, a rights group is accusing area administrators of interfereing with the dispute.

Robert Moseti, the National Alliance Against Corruption secretary-general, claims police have been deployed to protect some of parties in the dispute. They say part of the land had been cultivate and another leased.

“They have been using police officers to chase away the community who have the legal right to use the land,” claims Moseti.

He says police have no authority to meddle in private property and they should instead help rightful owners to occupy it.

“We are asking them to desist from abusing powers by illegally using the police officers to achieve his selfish interests,” said the statement.

The group said while members of the Mosem Enterprise have obeyed court orders by desisting from carrying out any activities on the land, police are doing the opposite.

“In the past two weeks, we have witnessed running battles on the land between the police and the youth, and if not addressed, it will escalate,” said Moseti.

But Njoro Sub-County Deputy County Commissioner David Mbevi dismissed the accusations as “outrageous and unsubstantiated”.

He said police officers were only doing their job of maintaining law and order. Further, Mbevi said the land belongs to Egerton University and therefore police have to protect it. 

“The claims are not true. As far as I am concerned, the land belongs to the university, which means it is a government property,” said Mbevi.