What you need to know:
- Lawyer Suyianka Lempaa said the community relied on the land, which was hived from the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, for livelihood, sustenance and survival.
- Among the reasons the court dismissed the case was the community’s failure to list Ol Pejeta as an interested party.
The Samburu have filed an appeal against a decision to dismiss a case in which they had sued retired President Daniel arap Moi for transferring 17,105 acres in Laikipia North to Kenya Wildlife Service.
Through its lawyer Suyianka Lempaa, the community wants the June 2017 ruling by the Environment Court ordering the eviction of its members from the disputed land set aside.
The appeal is based on 12 grounds, among them the decision to slap them with costs of the suit amounting to more than Sh11 million.
Mr Lempaa said the court did not give satisfactory reasons for the decision.
“State organs, including the Judiciary, should address the needs of...minority or marginalised communities and...particular ethnic or cultural groups under which...the appellants fall,” Mr Lempaa said on Wednesday.
He faulted the court for finding that the case, in which the community sought to have ownership of the land on grounds of adverse possession, lacked merit.
The lawyer said the community relied on the land, which was hived from the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, for livelihood, sustenance and survival.
“The judge failed to apply her mind properly to the matters...and failed to hold the scales of justice evenly,” the lawyer added.
Among the reasons the court dismissed the case was the community’s failure to list Ol Pejeta as an interested party.
The court also ruled that the community had never owned the land and that it did not prove the claim of adverse possession.
“The judge misdirected herself by failing to consider that once a proper determination was made that the appellants’ claim for adverse possession accrued when Ol Pejeta Conservancy was the registered owner, the only other elements of law the appellants had to prove were that they had been in actual, exclusive, peaceful, continuous and uninterrupted possession of the property for the requisite statutory period,” he added.
Mr Lempaa said the dismissal of the case was improper because the court did not allow a visit to the disputed land before issuing a determination on ownership.