East Africa

How top government officials stole 2,500 acres of public land


Well-connected individuals in past governments used local communities as fronts to grab land belonging to a key research agency, it has emerged.

A member of the Public Investments Committee (PIC) that investigated the grabbing of more than 2,500 hectares of land in Naivasha during the Tenth Parliament said the individuals mobilised members of the local community to hold public and sometimes violent demonstrations demanding that the land belonging to the Kenya Agricultural Research and Livestock Organisation (Karlo) had been allocated to them by the government.

Once the government gave in to their demands, the powerful individuals pounced, using their connections to have the title deeds issued in their names or those of their proxies, Tongareni MP Eseli Simiyu told the Nation on Sunday.

“As a committee, we saw through the scheme and recommended that the land belonged to Karlo and should be reverted to that institution but it seems nothing has been done,” he added.


Dr Simiyu spoke a day after National Land Commission (NLC) chairman Mohamed Swazuri said the commission will recommend that title deeds and allotment letters issued to individuals for the ownership of the Karlo land be revoked and the land reverted to the research agency.

 “It is a shame that several top government officials are using the poor community as a bait to grab land belonging to a public utility whose mandate I to ensure food security and poverty eradication,” Dr Swazuri said in Narok.

His deputy, Ms Abigail Mbagaya however stated that the commission was still waiting for the enactment of a legal framework to address historical injustices in order to resolve the dispute between Karlo on one hand, and the local community and the Isahakia family on the other hand.

“As a commission we are looking at the matter as a case of historical injustice. We have proposed a law to Parliament and we are waiting for MPs to act and give us a legal framework to address this and many other cases of that nature,” she stated.

Karlo director Titus Lanyasunya has been quoted demanding that the land be returned to the institution to enable it run research as required.

Mr Lanyasunya said only 48 percent of its land was being used for research adding that the rest had been grabbed.

“Most of the institution’s land has been grabbed and the faster the government moves, the better,” he noted.

Daily Nation

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