Two brothers are embroiled in a tug of war over the management of a community group ranch.
At the centre of the controversy is the Murupusi ranch in Mukogodo West ward, Laikipia North constituency, whose main economic activity is the lucrative sand-harvesting business.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the ranch collected an average of Sh1.3 million monthly between October 2019 and September 2020.
Jackson Kilua and Francis Osaka separately maintain that they are the duly elected chairpersons of the ranch's management committee, which is in charge of the community's resources.
Mr Kilua accuses his brother of mismanaging the ranch's resources and clinging to his position despite several attempts to oust him.
He claims an election was held on November 2 and he was elected to replace his brother.
"I was elected on November 2 as chairman of the committee. The former chairman claimed he was not satisfied with the outcome and a repeat election was convened on November 25," Mr Kilua said.
"I consider myself the duly elected chairman because I was announced the winner during the November 2 elections. My brother has since refused to hand over the office to the newly elected committee members."
The row now threatens the survival of the ranch that benefits over 1,000 members.
Speaking separately, Mr Osaka maintained that he was still the ranch's chairman after the two elections aborted due to chaos.
He said the November 2 elections were disrupted by Mr Kalua and his team after they refused to have the ranch register applied to ensure that only legitimate members participate in the polls.
In a notice seen by the Nation, Laikipia community land registrar Pamela Mutegi slated the elections for November 25.
"In exercise of powers conferred to me by Section 7 (2) of the Community Land Act 2016, notice is hereby given that there shall be a public meeting of all members of Murupusi community for purposes of electing the community land management committee members in accordance with the Act," the letter says.
Mr Osaka said the registrar oversaw the elections on November 25 but they were marred by chaos.
"There is this small group that is being used by some forces to tarnish the reputation of the government and the community members,” he said.
Hand over the membership register
“On November 25, Jackson transported residents from other parts of the county to participate in the voting but members urged the registrar to allow only members who are in the ranch's register to vote."
He added: "Jackson and his colleagues did not want due process followed as enshrined in the Law and I protested the move. After a prolonged tussle and consultations, the elections were postponed until further notice."
He said the leadership committee was allowed to continue serving until the next elections are held.
But Mr Kilua maintained that his brother should hand over the membership register and all the office records, adding that he already assumed office.
"Francis wants to cling onto leadership and create a rift among us but we won't allow that to happen. We appeal to the government, through the Ministry of Lands, to intervene and iron out this matter," Mr Kalua said.
He claimed the committee was injecting Sh750,000 annually to a bursary kitty, disadvantaging a majority of deserving children in the community.
"He is squandering our resources and little is left for us as a community. The ranch's books of account should be audited thoroughly by the respective government organs to ensure that our resources are utilised transparently," Jackson said.
But Mr Osaka said about 50 people have graduated from university through the community bursary programme since he assumed office in 2014.
"We have 400 children who are under the community bursary programme. We always hold meetings to consult members on the ideal projects that should be implemented. My office only implements projects that have been prioritised by community members," he said.
"We have done water projects to ensure that our community members access clean water for their domestic use. We have paid the medical bills of members of our community. Let people get facts and refer to our records, which are always open."