8 arrested as they invade former PS Kipkulei's land

A section of the fence destroyed by rowdy youth at Former PS Benjamin Kipkulei's farm in 2019. Police arrested 8 people for invading the farm on Monday

Photo credit: Macharia Mwangi | Nation Media Group

For decades, the fertile 4,000 acres belonging to Moi-era permanent secretary Benjamin Kipkulei has been a target of fraudsters eager to earn an extra coin by illegally leasing out the privately owned land.

Some of the invaders cite historical injustices and lay claim to the land without ownership documents and despite intervention from security agents.

On Monday, police seized a tractor and four motorbikes and arrested eight people after they were caught tilling the farm, with several others escaping the police dragnet.

"It is a perennial problem that needs a permanent solution. We are trying all we can to deter invasions, but given that the land is vast, it is almost impossible to completely stop the incursion,” said Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua.

But he said they were going for the “big fish” who are notorious for illegally leasing the land, with reports indicating that they have made a killing from their fraud.

“We have their names and we are going to go for them … this time round, they should be sure that their time is up,” Mr Mutua warned.

Last year, squatters cultivated more than 500 acres of the land.

Speaking at the time, Assistant County Commissioner Stephen Mwonge said the invaders were selling farm produce from the land.

Mr Mwonge said the former PS has been cultivating the vast land, but perennial invasions were disrupting those activities.

“The invaders use force to gain entry. We have previously executed court orders in removing the squatters but the problem has been recurring,” he said then.

Ndabibi squatters

Squatters demonstrating at a private farm owned by former PS Benjamin Kipkulei in Ndabibi, Naivasha on May 19, 2021. Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua warned them against encroaching on private land.

Photo credit: George Sayagie | Nation Media Group

Five years ago, Kipkulei won a protracted ownership case, but the invasions had been going on since 2012. The problem was blamed on politicians who claim the land belongs to former ADC workers.

Subsequent administrators have attempted to resolve the issues with little success. Some of the invaders claim to be in possession of genuine title deeds issued in 1924 by the colonial government.

In 2019, three elderly villagers attempted to invade part of the land.  The three, aged 68, 83 and 88, were among a group of villagers who entered the farm after destroying an electric fence.

Mr Mutua said a permanent solution was needed to help address the issue, with numerous arrests failing to yield any results.

The owner previously erected fences around the farm but they are pulled down by invaders.

Mr Mutua warned those illegally tilling the private farm that they would be arrested and prosecuted.

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