A court has extended the order barring retired President Daniel arap Moi’s lawyer from auctioning livestock owned by 249 Samburu herders in Laikipia.
Justice Mary Oundo, while sitting at the Environment and Lands Court in Nyeri, also directed lawyer, Mr Juma Kiplenge and the herders to file in court and exchange their written submissions within 14 days.
This was after the pastoralists’ lawyer Mr Bermin Kanyonge said he would like to have the dispute disposed by way of the parties writing their arguments instead of verbal submissions.
Justice Oundo also ordered that the herders' property should not be attached until the application that is challenging the auction is heard and determined.
In the application, the herders are opposed to lawyer Kiplenge’s move to instruct Naisok Auctioneers to seize and sell their livestock in a bid to recover Sh8.2 million they owe him.
The debt arose from costs of an eight-year suit involving a 17,105-acre piece of land in Laikipia North, which the herders were claiming ownership.
The herders, through their representative Mr Richard Leiyagu, said the auction would render them poor and further marginalised.
In his affidavit, Mr Leiyagu indicated that Naisok Auctioneers wanted to auction 1,300 cattle, assorted household items and vehicles.
The pastoralists had sued the former president for transferring the expansive parcel known as Eland downs or Kabarak Farm - which they claimed was their ancestral land- to Kenya Wildlife Service.
182 HEAD OF CATTLE
The price of a cow in Laikipia currently ranges between Sh45,000 and Sh120,000, according to Mr Leiyagu.
This means only 182 head of cattle would be required to settle the Sh8.2 million debt if each cow was valued at Sh45,000.
“To confiscate 1,300 cows will fleece the Samburu community of the equivalent of Sh58.5 million,” he said. The case will be mentioned on November 27, 2019.
Mr Moi’s lawyers appeared in court 107 times from March 15, 2010, to July 24, 2017, when Justice Lucy Waithaka dismissed the pastoralists’ claim to the land.
Initially, Mr Moi’s lawyers sought Sh40.6 million from the pastoralists as cost of the suit but High Court deputy registrar Damacline Bosibori reduced the amount to Sh8,267,666.
Another Nairobi-based law firm, Kaplan & Stratton, which represented Africa Wildlife Foundation in the case, is also demanding Sh8.2 million from the herders.
The evidence in court showed that the herders were never owners of the land.
It was found that KWS, AWF and Mr Moi had been in control of the land.
An appeal filed by the community against the judgment is pending at the High Court.