Scores of squatters demonstrated outside Laikipia County commissioner’s office on Tuesday afternoon demanding to be allocated land when President Uhuru Kenyatta visits the county.
But police, chiefs and deputy county commissioners prevented the crowd from accessing County Commissioner Apollo Okelo’s office.
They told them that their grievances should be handled by Meru and Nyeri county commissioners.
“If you want the Laikipia County commissioner to address your issue you should write a formal letter to him.
“What he has now is a copy of your letter which you wrote to the Nyeri County commissioner,” Nanyuki police boss Joash Nyachiro told them.
The squatters said they were evicted from Ontulili, Kahurura and Gathiuru forests in 1989 but they were never considered when other evictees were settled in Solio settlement scheme in 2008.
“Part of Gathiuru Forest had even been hived off and demarcated for the purpose of settling us there but we were never allocated [land] and the place has become a forest now,” the leader of the group, Mr Wachira Muthee, said.
EVICTED FROM MERU AND NYERI
He said the squatters comprise 4,078 families evicted from the two forest blocks in Meru and Nyeri counties but have been living in various villages in Nanyuki Town.
The squatters said they wanted a chance to meet the President during his visit to present their grievances “since the county government and the National Land Commission had made little effort to help them.”
In a letter dated August 12, 2009, then Land Minister James Orengo had acknowledged the plight of the squatters who were seeking resettlement.
“I have forwarded the letter to the President. The ministry is also studying the case so as to brief his Excellency the President,” Mr Orengo wrote to the group.
The squatters said the intention of their Tuesday demonstration was to petition the President to order their resettlement during his visit in Nanyuki Town on Saturday where he is expected to attend a thanks-giving ceremony for Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri.