Illegal settlers invade 300,000 acres of ADC’s Galana farm

Maize under centre pivot irrigation at the Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme.

Photo credit: Pool

Thousands of acres of a government agency’s land have been encroached upon, officials have claimed.

Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) officials say by the end of February 2021, more than 300,000 acres of the agency’s land in Galana had been invaded by illegal land-buying companies and individuals.

ADC Chairman Nicholas Salat said illegal settlers were subdividing the land at an alarming rate of 25,000 acres per month.

A letter drafted by Mr Salat indicated those encroaching on the land were cultivating less than 10 acres.

“The ADC’s attention has been drawn to an adjudication process and massive subdivisions by land-buying companies/private persons,” Mr Salat stated.

The illegally subdivided parcels are then sold to unsuspecting persons, some of who have already started cultivating them and clearing sections to create access roads, the official said.

By December 2020, approximately 250,000 acres had been invaded, he said, adding that, two months later, an extra 50,000 was affected.

“Within the invaded land, there is an individual excavating a dam without ADC’s authority or agreement,” the chairperson noted.

Fresh beacons, cutlines and road access points were discovered in February and March. The perpetrators have, however, fled and are yet to be brought to book. Their identities are also yet to be established.

“The sub-division and adjudication process taking place is neither as per the Constitution, land adjudication, Physical and Land Use Planning Act 2019, the Land Registration Act 2012, the Land Act 2012, nor following the laid-down adjudication or subdivision procedures,” Mr Salat said.

The ADC Special Farms Rules (2001) clearly state under section 2(2) that:

“No special farm shall be sold, subdivided, transferred or otherwise disposed of without the prior approval by way of a Bill of Motion to be approved by Parliament.”

Section 2(3) adds that any sale, subdivision, transfer or disposal of any special farm made in contravention of the rule in the preceding sub-section shall be null and void.

“No instrument relating to such a transaction shall be registered under any written law for the time being in force requiring the registration of such instrument,” it further states.

But a crisis is in the offing as enforcement of the law to reclaim the illegally acquired special farm lands will leave thousands of duped Kenyans homeless, landless and poor.

The ADC now wants the Ministry of Lands to liaise with them and have a perimeter boundary established by the Director of Surveys to avoid overlap of adjacent land.

“ADC also requests for information on the official government position for consideration bearing in mind legal risks the corporation will be exposed to should there be no participation of all stakeholders,” the ADC chairperson concluded.