900 families face eviction in land dispute

Friday March 9 2012


About 900 families in Baringo North District face eviction after their land was taken over by the Kenya Wildlife Service.

The affected families live around Lake Kamnarok Game Reserve at Kapluk, Muchungwo, Katibel, Litein, Keturwa, Konoo, Barwessa, Likwon, Kuikui, Marigut and Kinyach villages.

Elders of the pastoral Arror community claimed the grazing land belongs to their ancestors and accused the State of grabbing it because they do not have title deeds.

“We have never been issued with title deeds and all we have is allotment letters. We want the government to know the history of this land and respect our rights,” Mr Isaiah Chebon, an elder, said.

Baringo North district commissioner Joshua Ogango told the Saturday Nation that according to the map, the families encroached on KWS land.

He said human activities around the lake had affected wildlife, noting that Lake Kamnarok was the only one in the region with white crocodiles but the species has become extinct due to erosion and silting.

“We have in the recent past held two barazas to sensitise the community to return to their genuine land and allow wildlife to thrive there.

We will continue with such meetings since we want to rehabilitate the lake and the land,” he said.

According to leaders of Kerio Development Forum, a youth lobby in the area, the government demarcated the land in 2010, barring the pastoralists from herding animals on the disputed plots.

They said that after the land was gazetted as KWS property in 1983, the residents were promised alternative settlement but the promise had not been honoured.

“We are worried that the government wants to create another IDP crisis. They took our names and promised we would be compensated when we leave but now all signs are very clear that the government wants to take our land and leave us in the cold,” chair Gilbert Kiptalam said.