Controversial Kajiado land trust committee dissolved indefinitely

Kibiko land

Keekonyokie community land members pray during a crisis meeting to dissolve the trust committee over the weekend.The prime land situated in Kajiado County has been marred with controversies.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho I Nation Media Group

Members of Keekonyokie community land in Kajiado West sub-county have dissolved the management trust committee to pave way for fresh elections.

The move comes barely a fortnight after the State suspended the  subdivision and questionable titling of the 2,800 acres piece of land worth almost a billion shillings.

In the last one month, the land has been the epicenter of threats and eviction intimidations, pitting members against each other into two different factions.

The acrimony was fueled by a report indicating one faction had subdivided the land to 718 individuals including outsiders, senior government officers, administrators and clerics leaving out genuine members.

The original faction has been under the leadership of Mr Moses Parantai while the splinter faction is headed by Moses Ole Monik. The two groups do not see eye to eye.

However, over the weekend dozens of members of the Keekonyokie community convened a meeting to dissolve the controversial community management committee.

Agitated members said the community trust was overtaken by events since the Community Land Act was enacted into law by Parliament in 2016.

The act provides for the recognition, protection and registration of community land. County governments have an upper hand in relation to community land. Under the act women and youth are allowed to own land.

The outgoing trust chairman Mr Parantai, who will continue holding the title deed in trust for the members, said fresh elections to be supervised by the Lands Registrar will be slated soon.

" Until a new committee is elected, there will be no legal body acting on behalf of the members. No one should purport or masquerade as the chairperson," said Mr Parantai.

Former Kajiado Senator Peter Mositet urged the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to probe some members of the dissolved committee for corruption and abuse of office in a well-orchestrated scheme to disfranchise the genuine members.

"All members ought to be treated equally and no one should be evicted. Outsiders who have been duped into buying shares ought to report to the security agents. Greedy individuals must be stopped by all fronts," he said.

Members are demanding the resignation of the National Land Commission (NLC) chairman Gershom Otachi accusing his office of being misused by cartels in an attempt disinherit genuine members.

A fortnight ago, Mr Otachi sought  a meeting between him, Governor Joseph Ole Lenku and Lands Cabinet Secretary  Zachary Njeru to thrash out the matter once and for all.

Nation could not establish if the meeting that was to be held in Nairobi last week took place.

On the other hand, a group of clerics are at an advanced stage rooting for truce among the warring factions.

An insider told Nation the clerics who have waded into weighty matters are at crossroads considering some of their colleagues are implicated in the scam.

Governor Lenku told Nation his administration is ready to face land cartels by the horns.

"Keekonyokie members were on the verge of losing their land to a few selfish individuals. It will not be business as usual for land cartels. We will face them head on," he said.

This prime land borders Ngong and Kiambu County to the west. The community got the land back in the 1990s from the government after earlier being used as holding ground for a veterinary farm until 1956.

In the last five years leadership wrangles have taken a toll on the trust land, delaying the land sub division after the NL allowed the subdivision on December 17 2015.

Currently the land boasts of modern homes, agribusiness, churches and schools serving the natives who live on the land.

The government has beefed security neutralising tension that was rife two weeks ago.