Keep off Chuka university land, Njuri Ncheke tells Governor Njuki
The Ameru Njuri Ncheke Council of Elders has asked Tharaka Nithi county to keep off Chuka University 500 acres Kairini land.
Addressing the media in Chuka town, the elders said the county administration has many parcels of land where it can establish the proposed industrial aggregation and value-addition park.
Each of the 47 counties is expected to get 100 acres of land and set aside Sh100 million and the national government to give Sh100 million for the project, which will help in adding value to agricultural produce.
During an interdenominational prayer attended by President William Ruto recently at Kirubia Stadium in Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency, Governor Muthomi Njuki told the Head of State that the university had given out the 100 acres only for the varsity to come out and deny.
The elders led by the regional organizing secretary Mutegi Kiungo faulted Governor Njuki for ‘lying’ to President Ruto that the university had agreed to give out the land, even after the council declined the request from the county government.
“It was wrong for Governor Njuki to tell the President that the university had agreed to give out the land while knowing that the council had declined,” said Mr Kiungo, who is also the council’s paralegal unit chairman.
He said there are other public lands including Nithi timber factory in Chuka sub-county, Ruau in Tharaka south sub-county, Kabariange, Kirimankari and Ruguri in Igambang’ombe sub-county.
The elders questioned why the county was only insisting on the university land, which the institution has developed a master plan for growth.
Kiungo said in 2017, the university approached the elders and asked for enough land for the expansion of the institution, upon which they donated 500 acres.
He said the university told them that they had plans to use 100 acres for the establishment of dry land farming research and model farm, 100 acres for wild sanctuary and conservancy for training, research and ecotourism and 300 acres for the establishment of a national teaching, research and referral hospital.
“The university has already divided the parcel of land and has so far built a 15-million-liter capacity dam which it is using to irrigate research and model farm where local farmers go to learn,” he said.
Mr Sabastian Njeru, the council’s Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency secretary said the university has built a level four hospital on the land which it intends to expand into the referral hospital.
He said that though Mr Njuki has maintained that the Kairini land was donated by the members of the public and the proposed project will benefit the same people, he should consider using the other idle lands instead of interfering with the university land.
He expressed fears that the controversy is likely to interfere with the running of the university ‘which has played a key role in the growth of the county’.
“The elders are ready to help the county government to get the 100 acres of land as we did to the university,” said Mr Njeru.
Speaking while distributing free certified seeds to the residents of Igambang’ombe ward recently, Njuki insisted that the university has no choice but to surrender the 100 acres.
Two weeks ago, Chuka University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) also came out and opposed the plan to hive the 100 acres.
Led by the chairperson, Dr Alice Lunani, and Secretary Thomas Motindi, they termed the move as illegal and a threat to the university’s expansion and research.
“The move by the county government to forcibly take 100 acres belonging to the university is illegal and threatens the expansion of the institution and research activities,” said Dr Lunani.