The killing of Peter Makokha Makanda, 68, has deepened the row surrounding the ownership of the 702-acre Mengo Farm in Saboti, Trans Nzoia County.
Mr Makanda, who was the chairman of Muroki Estate Ltd that claims to have acquired Mengo Farm, was killed by unknown people last Saturday.
His body was found in a maize plantation with deep cuts. The body was found by a herdsman identified as Pius Kauka in Musengi village in Kiboroa location.
“The body had deep cuts on the right side of the neck, right lower leg and on both hands above the elbows," Mr Jackson Mwenga, Trans Nzoia West police boss, said.
Mr Makanda’s brother, Rodgers Osundwa, told police that Makanda was last seen at his home near Mengo Primary School at 5pm the same day.
“We suspect he was attacked with a sharp object; there were signs of a struggle at the scene. We are yet to establish the motive of this heinous act," Mr Mwenga said.
Police are investigating whether the killing was linked to a planned eviction, which is set to be carried out on the disputed farm.
The killing was the latest deadly act linked to the wars surrounding the disputed farm.
Bloody conflicts have been the order of the day between the directors of the farm and some of the squatters who also claim ownership of the land.
In December 2014, six people were brutally murdered as they attempted to evict the squatters.
They had gone to the farm to effect an eviction order but the residents turned against them, killing six of them.
The attackers accused the group of trying to force them out of their legally acquired land.
Mengo Farm Ltd has been embroiled in an ownership battle for 19 years with Muroki Estate Ltd located in Saboti Sub-County.
Muroki Estate Ltd claims to have bought the land from Mengo Farm in early 1970s, and accuses the farm of wrongfully laying claim to it. It is claimed one party had only leased the land for a period of 10 years.
The case over the directorship of the farm is still pending in court and is scheduled for a ruling at the Kitale High Court on October 11.
The row is between Mohammed Abdi Farar, Abdilkadir Ahmed of Muroki Estate Ltd and Euneah Wamuyu of Mengo Farm.
In an interview with the Nation, Ms Wamuyu, who is a director of Mengo Farm, accused Muroki Estate of obtaining a court order for eviction yet a case to determine the real owners of the company was ongoing.
“Why would the two go to court to seek an eviction order yet there is an ongoing case in court? Why don't they wait for the court ruling on the matter at hand first before enforcement of the eviction?” Ms Wamuyu enquired.
Ms Wamuyu, 64, who has battled for the control of the property for the last 30 years, said she was a victim of circumstances after she legally acquired the property in 1989.
“If they are indeed saying that they are the owners, why am I still paying land rates to the Trans Nzoia County government and filing my tax returns to KRA?” she posed when after showing the Nation team receipts for the transactions.
Ms Wamuyu has maintained that she has valid documents to demonstrate that she is the bona fide director of Mengo company.
On December 18, 1990, the Nairobi High Court directed that the ownership of Mengo Farm be referred back to Ms Wamuyu. But this did not happen.
“Kitale Police Station is hereby ordered to remove any person bound by the decision who may refuse to vacate the same,” the court ordered.
On September 21, 2015, the National Land Commission (NLC) attempted to reconcile the warring parties by organising a meeting on October 13, 2016. It is not clear if the meeting took place.
Former Attorney-General Githu Muigai also tried to intervene in 2012 after he wrote a letter to the then Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere, complaining about police sluggishness on the matter.
“We note that your officers have refused to submit the investigation file into the affairs of the company as demanded by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions,” the former AG’s letter read.
Since then tension has remained high at the farm.