Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo wants military camps in Isiolo town and its outskirts relocated to pave the way for development.
Ms Dullo said the posts should be allocated alternative space away from the town and the land they now occupy be given back to the community.
“All the operation camps should be offered alternative land because currently, we cannot undertake development because they have occupied huge chunks of land,” Ms Dullo said during a community meeting in Isiolo town.
Residents living near the schools of Infantry, Artillery and Combat Engineering complain that the installations endanger their lives due to the ammunition used during training.
The locals, especially in Burat ward, say soldiers have encroached on their land, hiving off hundreds of acres, displacing thousands of families and threatening their economic activities.
Training grounds moved
Ms Dullo said the soldiers in Isiolo should be moved as those in neighbouring Samburu County were.
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) training grounds on the outskirts of Maralal were moved to Baragoi in 2016 after Governor Moses Lenolkulal’s administration offered them 1,000 acres, ending disputes between the military and residents of Muramur and Lkuroto.
Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi recently said he was ready to offer the 78 Tank Battalion camp alternative land following complaints by residents that the soldiers were not helping to resolve disputes along the Isiolo-Meru border.
Senator Dullo revisited the August 2019 legal notice that exempted Isiolo township, military installations, the Lapsset corridor, holding grounds and national reserves from the adjudication process, saying she opposed it because the land was allocated to the KDF without community consent, among other reasons.
She and four other MPs had demanded that the notice be cancelled.
The Ministry of Lands in 2020 amended the gazette notice despite pending matters in court and allowed adjudication in townships and settlement areas and excluded the same areas exempted by the August 2019 notice.
“I was not opposed to titling but fought, among others, allocation of KDF land without public participation and compensation of affected residents,” she said.
The legislator said she had appealed several times to the county government to push the matter and ensure that the land set aside for holding grounds revert to the county.
She lamented that land disputes and legal battles especially in Wabera ward continue to prevent development of idle properties.
“I will raise the issue with President Uhuru Kenyatta so that the rightful owners are issued with title deeds to be able to develop their land,” Ms Dullo promised.