Governor Lenku forms team to probe Rombo Group Ranch land row

Joseph ole Lenku

Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku meets members of the task force to probe Rombo group ranch land dispute in his office on November 15, 2023.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho / Nation Media Group

The Kajiado County government has waded into the Rombo Group Ranch row. The ranch leadership has come under attack over an alleged illegal sale of land.

Governor Joseph Ole Lenku on Wednesday formed an inter-departmental committee to look into issues raised by members of the ranch who in the past staged several demonstrations against the leaders.

Governor Lenku appointed a seven-member committee chaired by Mr Alex Kilowua and directed it to engage all stakeholders to find a solution to the land dispute.

The team comprises Julius Marao, Grace Saitoti, Naomi Parinkoi, Rosemary Turere, Jonathan Oseur and Joshua Lemaikai.

The team will collect views on the problems facing the ranch at a time when many members have been unable to collect their titles due to lack of funds.

The ranch's leadership came under sharp criticism from members over the sale of more than 5,000 acres of land set aside for conservation purposes

Two years ago, Governor Lenku and a team from the Ministry of Lands issued title deeds to members of the Matepes group. The community set aside 25,000 acres for wildlife conservation.

Mr Frankie Kipetuan, the leader of the splinter group said, "the land we set aside for wildlife as conservation has been reduced from 25,000 to 19,500 acres. We don't understand how the land ended up in the hands of a few individuals".

 He also questioned how a private maize milling company acquired over 100 acres of land along the wildlife corridor near Tsavo National Park.

 Rombo Group Ranch chairman John Sitelu said he had legally bought land from those who could not pay for their title deeds.

"It is true that I have several pieces of land in the ranch but I acquired them from their owners on a willing buyer willing seller basis," Mr Sitelu said.

The embattled chairman accused some politicians of fighting him over his political stance.

“Some people are fighting me for political reasons.  I am asking them to investigate other group ranches in the constituency," he said.

He added that the ranch officials had been cleared of any wrongdoing by a court and the Directorate of Criminal Investigation.

"We have been taken to court and summoned by the DCI and we have been exonerated, some of the people accusing us are not genuine ranch members," he added.

Governor Lenku has assured that the ranch stakeholders will be given an opportunity to voice their concerns about the status of the group ranch.

"We are giving this committee the power and mandate to interrogate all relevant people and seek an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. We want justice to be done to the members, some of whom are struggling to pay fees for title deeds. We will protect the land rights of all members," Mr Lenku said.