Kinyanjui promises to set up team to solve 41-year-old land dispute

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021 00:00 |
Nakuru Governor  Lee Kinyanjui. Photo/PD/FILE

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui has announced that the 41-year Oljorai land dispute that has claimed scores of lives in the county will be settled through Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms.

Kinyanjui stated that his administration was working with the National Land Commission (NLC), County Commissioner Erastus Mbui Mwenda and other stakeholders to set up a committee to solve the tussle between Solai–Ruyoibei Farm Limited and Oljorai Land Buying Company that have been laying claim to the 8,000-acre parcel of land.

He noted that the dispute had led to loss of lives, property and even disrupted peace as the tussle continued dragging on. 

This, he noted, must come to an end to allow people to live peacefully.

Just three weeks ago, a former civic leader at the defunct Nakuru County Council Charles Olare Chebet was killed and several others injured at the farm in Gilgil sub-county after a fight broke out between members of the two land companies.

 The former civic leader who prior to his death after being shot on the head with an arrow, had addressed a press conference and identified himself as the chairman of Solai–Ruyoibei Farm Limited, wondered how the Registrar of Land’s office in Naivasha subdivided the vast farm, yet the mother title was deposited at the Environment and Lands Court in Nakuru.

He said they had won the case against Oljorai Limited.

 “We have fought this battle in court for a long time, and the court ruled in our favour.

We are aware of an appeal, but until it is determined, we shall pitch tent here,” said Olare.

Kinyanjui spoke when he addressed residents of Eburu Mbaruk Ward in Gilgil.  He was accompanied by Gilgil MP Martha Wangari, Eburru Mbaruk MCA Samuel Kariuki and his nominated counterpart Anne Kimani.

“Over the years we have witnessed an orgy of violence and senseless killings over this land tussle.

We urge residents not to take the law into their hands as there are other avenues for resolution of disputes without recourse to violence,” noted Kinyanjui.

He observed that calls on the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to probe the subdivision of the disputed former Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) land and protracted court battles were only aggravating the situation.

The governor regretted that the Oljorai ownership wrangles had locked up land worth billions of shillings.

He stated that the 2016 Community Land Act encourages the application of traditional   dispute resolution mechanisms in land conflicts.

 “ Some land conflicts that have seen their way to the courts have allegedly been characterised by foul play, corruption, inefficiency, delays and solutions that mainly leave the disputing parties as sworn enemies,” said the governor.

Peter ole Osono also a former councilor at the defunct Nakuru County Council and Director of Oljorai Land Buying Company has conceded that the Environment and Lands court in Nakuru declared more than 3,000 titles relating to the 8,000-acre land null and void. He however says his company had appealed against the ruling.

 “Ours is to urge Solai Ruyoibei Farm officials to be patient as courts resolve the dispute.

Land ownership is a sensitive matter that needs to be addressed through laid down procedures,” noted Osono.

Justice Sila Munyao, in a ruling delivered in November last year, declared: “It is hereby declared that the titles of Kiambogo/Kiambogo Block 3/1 to 3320 (Oljorai Company Limited) are all fraudulent titles and all null and void.”

In the judgment, the court had ordered the Chief Land Registrar and the District Land Registrar to expunge from their records all the 3,320 title deeds claimed to be genuine and dismissed the case filed by Oljorai Company Limited.

Gilgil Sub-County Police Commander John Onditi warns that security personnel will not tolerate individuals who were inciting residents into acts of lawlessness using land disputes as an excuse. — KNA

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