Uasin-Gishu County squatters and military officers clash over land

Uasin-Gishu County squatters and military officers clash over land

Squatters bordering the Kenya Ordinance Factory (KOF) in Uasin-Gishu County are currently embroiled in a land ownership dispute with military officers, where the squatters accusing the military men of destruction of property.

The military officers allegedly raided more than 10 farms last week, destroying the squatters’ crops – a move that led to the stoning and injuring the officers in retaliatory attacks.

Residents say that a 30-acre piece of land, which they had leased to a farm manager at KOF, is the bone of contention.

The irate residents, who emphatically claimed ownership of the property, stated that the land was their ancestral right.

“Our ancestors have been buried here and any plans to evict us will make us go and live in the streets,” a resident said.

In a crisis public baraza at Kap Douglas in Turbo Constituency, Turbo Assistant Sub-County Commissioner John Kinjo and area MP Elisha Busienei ruled that the squatters should continue tilling their land until the issue is resolved by relevant bodies.

Busienei further condemned the alleged harassment of squatters by military officers, calling for an amicable solution into the issue.

“The residents’ rights should be respected. They should be allowed to till their land as usual because the officers found them here. The Ministry of Agriculture should also asses the cost of damage crops to pave way for residents’ compensation,” he said.

Busienei also called for the clear demarcation of land owned by the Department of Defense (DoD), adding that this would prevent future conflict.

He also faulted the 1977 compulsory acquisition of land, which gave the government the mandate to take over land anywhere for public use, which he said, should be revoked.