The battle for control and ownership of Nyahururu town has taken a new twist after Laikipia County government forcibly took possession of a building that was being refurbished by Nyandarua.
Staff from Laikipia’s Ministry of Agriculture reportedly moved into the AMS building last week, broke all padlocks, and started using it as their office.
They also ordered a contractor who had been hired by Nyandarua County to put up a perimeter wall around the building, to stop the work immediately.
But according to an official from Nyandarua, the building was being refurbished to accommodate the county’s soil testing laboratory.
“We started rehabilitating the building, which was formerly used as a veterinary clinic two years ago. It was expected to be commissioned as a laboratory early next month,” said Nyandarua’s Agriculture Executive James Karitu.
The move has renewed controversy surrounding the town, which both Laikipia and Nyandarua counties are laying claim to.
While terming the forceful occupation of the building by workers from Laikipia vandalism, Mr Karitu said there was no communication to his ministry by Laikipia County government.
“We expect our neighbours from Laikipia to respect the property of others. There should have been a discussion or even a court order for them to come and forcefully occupy another county government’s property. That was vandalism,” he said.
However, Laikipia’s Agriculture Accounting Officer Daniel Thuo accused Nyandarua of trespassing on the county’s property in Nyahururu.
Dr Thuo said there was no need for consultation before taking over the soil laboratory building because it was unoccupied.
“Properties in Nyahururu town that belonged to the national government, and which were devolved, now belong to Laikipia. We have plans to take over more facilities including the Agriculture Mechanisation Services premises in Nyahururu,” said Dr Thuo.
He noted that plans by the county government to take over the AMS buildings have been delayed to give Nyandarua County more time to move out of the premises.