Thousands of beneficiaries of the 44,000-acre Mwea Settlement Scheme have moved to court to force Land Cabinet Secretary, Ms Farida Karoney, and her Interior counterpart, Mr Fred Matiang’i, to lift the suspension on land allocation.
The elders from Mbeere, Embu, Kamba and Kirinyaga said the two had no legal authority to revoke the process, which was being implemented by the government, and which had seen more 72,000 people receive title deeds.
They have engaged three lawyers to force the CSs to rescind the decision and instead be compelled to provide them with security to enable them to visit the land so that they can be shown their parcels.
On Monday, about 1,000 title holders, led by their clan heads, gathered at the Embu law courts, where the case was expected to be filed.
However, the suit papers were not officially received since the judges were said to be attending a meeting.
The chairman of the Mbeere Council of elders, Mr Eston Nthiga, said they were growing impatient with the exercise, which started in the 1970s but had been derailed by court cases.
He said that further delay in the allocations will give room to criminals to invade and claim the land.
He said most of the beneficiaries had been shown their parcels but on the fourth day, chaos broke out after people suspected to have been transported to the scheme confronted the police.
He said that, according to an agreement in December 2014 allowing the demarcation to start, the Mbeere were to receive 40 per cent, the Embu 30 per cent the Kamba 20, and Kirinyaga 10 per cent.
“The Cabinet Secretaries have no powers to suspend the process since the land parcels were allocated within the law and no law was broken. It is the same government which gave out the titles and oversaw process. Everybody who received title deeds had a right to get them and nobody went against the law,” said Mr Nthiga.
“We get worried when we hear that some people are opposed to the exercise. The people who were living there are the ones who lead the register. Hundreds then started streaming into the settlement scheme after learning that it would be allocated. Those are the people who have been causing chaos. They are still coming on a daily basis,” said Mr Nthiga.
Mr Njeru Wakiuma, who is a former Mbeere South CDF manager said he also supported the settlement and proposed that two police posts be erected to ensure safety of those wishing to develop their parcels of land.
Mr Alfred Ngiri Marangi, a beneficiary said they were angered by the government move since they had been informed that the process was complete.
“This land was allocated by the government and it has not withdrawn the allocation since we still have title deeds. If the government is not keen on protecting us, we shall protect ourselves. NLC carried out the process. Those who think that the process was not fair should come and tell us in court,” he said.
Ms Milkal Ndung’u said they had remained as squatters for long.