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Locals move to court to stop eviction from Kedong ranch

Tuesday November 12 2019
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Lawyers Tom Ojienda and Thomas Letangule speak to journalists outside the Nakuru Law Courts on November 12, 2019 after filing a petition in which people living on Kedong Ranch in Naivasha are seeking orders to stop their eviction. PHOTO | JOSEPH OPENDA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JOSEPH OPENDA

Members of the Maasai community living on the controversial Kedong ranch in Naivasha have moved to court seeking to stop their eviction.

The more than 30,000 members have filed a petition at the Environment and Land Court in Nakuru seeking orders declaring them genuine occupants of the land.

Through lawyers Thomas Letangule and Prof Tom Ojienda, the residents of the land have sued Kedong Ranch Ltd, the Kenya Railways Corporation, the National Land Commission (NLC) and the Attorney-General.

In the case filed under a certificate of urgency, the petitioners want the court to restrain the Kedong ranch from selling, disposing of or dealing with the land in a manner that will be detrimental to their occupation.

RESTRAINING ORDERS

They further seek restraining orders against the Kenya Railways Corporation from evicting them and displacing them from the land without proper compensation.

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The petitioners claim the land is their ancestral home, where they were born and raised as well as graze their animals.

They say they developed the land by building permanent houses, schools, churches and other social amenities.

The court heard that the community is apprehensive that they could be evicted from the land following the recent developments including the construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR) as well as an inland dry port.

NO PROPER CONSULTATIONS

According to the petitioners, the government projects have seen some of the members evicted without proper consultations regarding their stay.

During the building of the SGR, the NLC is accused of compensating some of the residents while sidelining others

The petitioners complained that the government had fenced off part of the land that they occupied with the intention of building a dry port.

“The government has been sidelining and continues to neglect the local community whose ancestral land is subject to compulsory acquisition without being compensated. Unless the orders sought are granted, the petitioners risk being evicted from their ancestral land and their properties destroyed,” they said in the petition filed in court.

Justice Dalmas Ohungo directed them to serve their petition to the respondents before the matter is heard on November 20.

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