The row surrounding multi-billion shillings assets acquired by an organisation in Rift Valley has taken a cultural dimension with a section of elders warning parents not to allow their children to be circumcised on a disputed 570-acre piece of land.
EMO Investment Company Limited was formed 10 years ago for the purposes of empowering the Kalenjin community.
The more than 300 elders Thursday said aggrieved members of Emo Investment Limited, most of them now elderly, placed a curse on the controversial land and it would not be wise for parents to allow their sons to undergo the traditional rite of passage within the farm this December.
The members claim they collected money and purchased the land owned by a white settler in Uasin Gishu County at Sergoit Farm but it has been riddled in disputes.
The elders who demonstrated at the Sergoit Farm were categorical that they cursed the land and are against any planned circumcision ‘which has no blessings of the elders’.
“Using the land before the curse is removed and the land cleansed by elders may cause harm to the initiates who are innocent,” said Julius Kibet Murei, an elder.
The elders who are a splinter group from the Emo Investment Limited have been complaining over alleged mismanagement of the land.
The aggrieved elders have claimed that the leadership of the organisation has not called for fresh elections in the last 10 years.
The elders who also included Luca Cherop, Ambrose Arap Rono and Thomas Kemboi have claimed that there are plans to lease and sell part of the land to three churches churches without the consent of all members, a plan they have vowed to oppose to the bitter end.
The elders also accused Kalenjin leaders of not intervening noting that, for over ten years now , they have been complaining of mismanagement of shareholders’ funds by Emo Investment Limited directors, yet not a single leader from the the community has come out boldly to intervene.
They claim many of the members continue to die of old age still fighting for their right over the disputed land. They also claim that some of the people who lease the land use police officers to arrest and torture the elders whenever they want to access the land.
The elders have appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney to intervene.
According to the elders, EMO group was formed in 2006 for empowering the community.
The elders blamed the seven directors of the group for leasing the land to a private farmer and stopping the elders from cultivating the land and not giving members dividends for over a decade now.
The aggrieved elders said they contributed between Sh20,000 and Sh100,000 as shares to the group.
They asked the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to make public a report of the probe that began one year ago about the mismanagement of EMO funds.
“The directors of the organisation have failed to generate any income from the proposed projects and this is why we are requesting the office of the DCI to assist,” the members say in a letter to the DCI.
According to the shareholders, they had planned to start cattle rearing, process and package milk for export but this is yet to be. They were also to set up a solar panel firm and green houses for flowers and tomato projects.
The directors of the organisation in a statement last week claimed that they have invited the shareholders for a meeting severally but they have declined to attend, a claim the shareholders have denied.