Governor Lenku accused of taking sides in Sh100bn communal land dispute

Keekonyokie Trust

Mr Moses Ole Monik (centre), one of the candidates for the chairmanship of the Keekonyokie Trust land leadership, flanked by a group of members in Kajiado on May 14, 2024. 

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku has been criticised for allegedly campaigning for a candidate in the Keekonyokie Trust land officials' election scheduled for Friday, May 24, 2024.

The elections were ordered by the court following a protracted leadership tussle over the prime 2,800-acre Kibiko Ngong land valued at about Sh100 billion.

The High Court on 4 April 2024 ordered the election of officials within 90 days in a ruling delivered by Environment and Lands Court Judge Christine Ochieng'.

One faction is led by long-serving trust chairman Moses Parantai with the backing of the county government and several politicians, while the splinter group is led by Mr Moses Ole Monik.

Highly charged campaigns in both camps are ongoing ahead of the May 24, 2024 elections.

On Wednesday, Governor Lenku attended Mr Parantai's campaign rally and endorsed him at Nkiito in Keekonyokie Ward.

"We want Mr Parantai to win in the forthcoming elections... this land belongs to the Maa community, not outsiders," said Mr Lenku adding that dozens of names had been removed from the register.

The Monik-led faction has come out guns blazing, accusing Governor Lenku of interfering in the electoral process and creating tension, division and confusion among members.

The presence of Kajiado County Executive Committee member Hamilton Parseina in the campaign has also been questioned as he is one of the key figures mandated to oversee the election along with national government officials.

"Governor Lenku is not a member of the Trust. We no longer have confidence in his CECM for Lands, Mr Parseina, who is on the election panel, because we believe he has taken sides," Mr Monik said on Thursday.

Mr Monik's team now claims Governor Lenku's 'interference' is likely to reduce the election to a sham.

Instead, the team wants the political class to stay out of the process and allow registered members to decide who will spearhead the land subdivision process.

 "We are ready for free and fair elections, whatever register or voting system they decide to use," he added.

Controversial membership register, alleged threats, bribery, and political interference are some of the red flags that have been raised.

Nation has since learned that overnight, lobbying has intensified in both camps, with political divisions taking centre stage. Local politicians are divided along clan lines. The elections will be a political muscle-flexing exercise for two county political bigwigs who have recently become the great nemesis.

The use of the 'Mlolongo' system instead of the secret ballot is also one of the major setbacks cited by members.

The fierce battle for the leadership mantle was triggered by the members' agreement to subdivide communal land into individual title deeds after the elections.