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Nakuru elders urge Uhuru to solve land issues in Rift Valley

Tuesday March 22 2016

President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks to residents of

President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks to residents of Mau Summit in Molo, Nakuru County on March 16, 2016. The Rift Valley Council of Elders has called on Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto to provide a lasting solution to frequent land conflicts in the region during their next visit. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ERIC MATARA
By ERIC MATARA
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Elders from Nakuru have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto to address the thorny issue of land during their next visit of the county in June.

Rift Valley Council of Elders Monday called on Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto to provide a lasting solution to frequent land conflicts.

“During the visit, we expect them to address matters which are likely to be a source of chaos as we approach the 2017 elections. Let the government move quickly and end the conflicts,” council chairman Gilbert Kabage said Monday.

Mr Kabage, who was accompanied by council members John Kipkogei, Mr Samuel Kiplangat, Mr John Koech, Mr Gabriel Kimani and Mr John Kahatu, said more than 10 people had been killed in the past two months in conflicts related to land.

They said local leaders had failed to address the problem, with some of them grabbing chunks of land meant for squatters and evictees.

NGONGONGERI LAND CONFLICT

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Mr Kabage cited the 26,000-acre Ngongongeri land in Njoro, saying prominent people, including a governor, owned it at the expense of the Ogiek community.

Among areas that have witnessed bloodshed due to land conflicts are Naivasha, Njoro, Molo, Kuresoi, Mai Mahiu and parts of Mau Narok on the Narok County border.

In Naivasha, a controversy over land at Ndabibi, believed to belong to the Agricultural Development Corporation but which members of the Maasai community also lay claim, led to the death of one person two weeks ago.

In Ngongongeri, a villager was shot dead last week by a licensed gun holder.

The elders called on President Kenyatta, through the National Land Commission and the Ministry of Land, to address the cause of the conflicts, blamed mostly on historical injustices.

Mr Kenyatta and his deputy toured the region with bags of goodies last week in what pundits see as a move to consolidate Jubilee support in the vote-rich Rift Valley.