Members of Kajiado Maasai Empakasi community group ranch on Friday laid claim to a piece of land measuring 8, 912 acres lying in Machakos County.
The land which is registered under Sheep and Goats Multiplication (L.R. 10029/2), they claim, was alienated from them to benefit other private individuals who are not resident in the said land.
Their chairman, Rev. Jonathan Liliah, said the said land was originally within Maasai Reserve as proclaimed in the Native Trust Ordinance, Kenya Gazette number 394 of December 3, 1926.
“M/S Liebig (K) Ltd was granted a10 year leasehold starting from December 18, 1936. In 1948, the company had their activities in the country transferred to former Tanganyika and the land was transferred to the Kenya Meat Commission,” said Liliah.
He further claimed KMC later leased the said land from March 1, 1952, for use as livestock holding ground until 1967 and in 1970, it handed the same to the Commissioner of Lands, which would later decide what to do with it.
“The Commission later handed over the same land to the Livestock Marketing Division in the Ministry of Agriculture, and in 1977 the division handed it over to the Sheep and Goats Project which it needed for breeding and multiplication,” said Rev. Liliah.
While addressing journalist at the farm near Kitengela, he said in1981, after consultations the Empakasi Community was allocated 6,000 acres while the sheep and goat project was allocated 2,912 acres for the public good.
The community, he said, agreed to this arrangement with a caveat that the project fails, the land must revert back to them.
The project failed in the late ’80s and the government started dishing out the same land to politicians and other connected land grabbers. The community has since remained hostile and no grabber has ever been able to access the land, claimed the community leaders.
They further claimed that the Ministries of Agriculture and Livestock have on different occasions surrendered the land to the Commissioner of lands for reallocation.
During the surrender, the ministry of agriculture attached a list of 99 individuals from his ministry to be issued with land ranging from 0.5 to 20 acres each, they said.
They claimed their worry is that there are claims the government wants to allocate KMC another 1000 acres yet the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture is on record saying the government is in the process of selling the factory.
The community is eager to know whether there is any correlation between the selling of the KMC and the allocation of the 1000 acres.
The community made an elaborate presentation to the on-going Taskforce on Current State of Ownership of Land in Mavoko, Machakos County and Invasion by squatters on March 25, 2019, at the Mavoko Municipal Hall.
During the press conference, the community was represented by their current leaders, Rev. Leliah, James Nkapaapa, Nicholas Matiko, Gideon Leliah, and Melton Kisoso.