A former Mau Mau freedom fighter has suffered a blow in his bid to recover 13 land parcels that he claims were taken from his family by the British colonial government.
Joseph Ngacha Karani, in a case at the High Court in Milimani Nairobi, said the land is now in the possession of the Burhani Foundation.
He wanted the court to revoke the titles registered in favour of Burhani, its partners and subsidiaries and declare that the land belongs to him and his family.
But Justice Anthony Mrima struck out the case, saying Mr Karani's claim should be addressed either before the National Land Commission (NLC) or in the Environment and Land Court (ELC).
The judge said the High Court's Constitutional and Human Rights Division does not have the authority to deal with the dispute.
Justice Mrima found that the gist of the petition is ownership of the land allegedly on the grounds of historical injustices.
"Section 13(7) of the Environment and Land Act empowers the (ELC) court to make any order and grant any relief as it may deem fit and just, including; interim or permanent preservation orders including injunctions, prerogative orders, award of damages, compensation, specific performance restitution, declaration, or costs. Those are the very orders the Petitioner seeks in the Petition," said the judge.
Mr Karani argues that the colonial government deprived him and his family of their ancestral land because they participated in the armed resistance against the British.
In his October 29, 2020 petition, he stated that the colonial government evicted him and other Mau Mau rebels from their land and forced them into native reserves.
When they returned to their ancestral land after independence, they found that it had been subdivided and was being occupied by unknown foreigners.
His efforts to have the governments of Kenya and Britain restore land to Mau Mau fighters, as well as livestock and wealth lost during the colonial era, have been futile.
The petition claimed the family’s constitutional rights to property had been violated. He contended that Burhani and others became illegal occupants as a result of illegal acquisition and fraudulent subdivision of the original property.
As such, he said, the occupants are liable to relinquish the land to him, stop demanding rental income and compensate him and his family for the money they have collected from the parcels over the years.