Squatters occupy land after Court of Appeal judgment 

Police try to stop members of the Sirikwa Squatters Group

Police try to stop members of the Sirikwa Squatters Group from building structures on a farm they were fighting over with the family of the late Mark Too on November 19, 2022.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Thousands of squatters have settled on the 25,000-acre farm they were fighting over with former MP Mark Too just three days after they were declared owners of the land.

In a landmark ruling on Friday, the Court of Appeal sitting in Kisumu declared the Sirkwa Squatters Group the legitimate owners of the land adjacent to Eldoret International Airport after a 15-year battle.

Yesterday, the squatters were busy erecting structures on the farm even as surveyors were sub-dividing the land among the beneficiaries with heavy police presence.

However, the late MP’s family, through his brother Clement Tirop, said they will lodge an appeal at the Supreme Court before the close of business yesterday.

“They might have been declared the owners but the matter is not yet over because there is a 14-day appeal period and already we have a team in Nairobi finalising our appeal before filing it at the apex court,” Mr Tirop said.

“I have talked with the squatters not to interfere with the late MP's property until we have moved out unless the court instructs us otherwise. Let them continue with whatever they are doing as long as they do not plunder or destroy any property,” he added.

"Prime mover"

The Too family had been allowed by the High Court to retain 67.5 acres of the land, but the appellate court said there was no basis or justification for the award since the ex-MP was “simply the prime mover in the scheme to swindle Sirikwa of the surrendered land and cannot be described by any stretch of the imagination as an innocent purchaser”.

The squatters, through their chairman Benjamin Rono, accused Mr Too’s family of buying time on the property.

“The High Court ruled in our favour and now the Court of Appeal has affirmed the order and went beyond the lower court order by returning the 67 acres which had been awarded to Mr Too. We won’t waste any time in taking back what is ours because we have suffered long enough,” he said.

He said they are happy to occupy the land their fathers had been dispossessed before it was fraudulently registered as private property noting they will protect it jealously.

“We have since opened an administrative office and at the moment survey work is ongoing as the land is being subdivided among the over 1,200 beneficiaries,” said Mr Rono.

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