A group of Mau Mau war veterans will be settled on a piece of land in Rumuruti, Laikipia County, a daughter of freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi said.
Evelyne Wanjugu Kimathi, the director of Kimathi Foundation, said 3,455 surviving members of Mau Mau will be settled on a three-and-a-half acre piece of land each starting January 2019 after her foundation started paying money to purchase the 13,000 acres of land.
Speaking Tuesday while inspecting the land in Rumuruti, Ms Kimathi said the foundation has attracted close to 5,000 members from across 11 counties who heeded to her call to register and buy land after they lost hope of government allocating land to the freedom fighters.
The foundation has signed an an agreement with the directors of Mathira-Kahonoki Gitaaraga Land Investment Company.
“The Mathira-Kahonoki Gitaaraga Land Investment Company has expressed interest to sell off a piece of land measuring over 12,000 acres in Mathira area of Laikipia County. We have already paid Sh50 million as down-payment for the land,” said Ms Kimathi.
The company's chairman Fredrick Maina confirmed that they are ready to sell their land "so that the war veterans could enjoy life at long last".
Ms Kimathi said efforts by the first president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta to settle the families of the Mau Mau freedom fighters at Solio ranch did not materialise since there has been a court case for the last 43 years.
“The freedom fighters thought they could be accorded a grand entry from the forest after successfully winning the battle with our colonisers. They waited to be allocated land but were kept in camps, a move that made others go back to the forest and never came back.
“Since then the fighters and their children have been waiting to be settled and after dashed hopes, I formed the foundation with the help of my father’s surviving colleagues to mobilise funds to purchase the land and settle them,” Ms Kimathi said.
She added that plans are underway to start subdividing the land.
“This is the first step that we have undertaken with the company and they have allowed us to start subdividing it. We will allocate the first batch of 2,000 former war veterans with a three-acre piece of land each by the end of January next year,” said Ms Kimathi.
She added that the surviving Mau Mau generals and their families each contribute Sh5,000 as shares which will be used to purchase the Rimuruti farm at a cost of Sh2.1 billion.
She observed that most of the families live in abject poverty despite their immense contribution to the freedom struggle and independence of the country.
“It’s ironical that the families of the brave warriors of this nation who tirelessly fought for it continue languishing in abject… we are optimistic that once we set the pace for the government they will chip in and assist us in settling them,” she said.
She said her foundation has been in talks with the Kenyan and British governments over the settlement plans.
Additional reporting by Steve Njuguna