They came from all the corners of Kajiado East constituency to converge at the Sheep and Goats farm in Mavoko, Machakos County on Tuesday.
It was a Kaputiei community affair where the elders met their leaders for a brief on the development regarding the acquisition of Sheep and Goats Farm.
The more than 500 people who arrived at the farm are part of a strong 2, 000 members of Empakasi Oolera Trust that petition Parliament some three years ago in pursuit of their community land that was handed out to the colonial government in the mid1930s.
Empakasi Oolera Trust has a working committee led by James Turere (chairman), Wilson Kisemei (Samuel Oiputa (Treasurer) and members; Jeremiah Kaloi, James Kisemei, Joseph Juma, Parmisa Semei and Wilson Kirayian.
Turere told an attentive meeting the government is in the process of handing over to them 2, 912 acres and that his committee has started to plan how the members will hire surveyors for the task ahead.
“I want to make it clear today to all the members that this farm belongs to Kaputiei community members and not a few individuals who have been going around cheating others that the farm is theirs,” said Turere.
The chairman said some of the members present in the Tuesday meeting in the farm came from as far as Masimba, Kenyewa/Poka, Sultan Hamud and other far-flung areas where Kaputiei community occupy.
A member of the trust, Paul Nakuo said Empakasi Oolera Trust invited a parliamentary committee on land to visit the farm where they interviewed local leaders and elders on how the government initially acquired the land.
“This is the only genuine trust that has the support of the entire Kaputiei community. The trust was formed with all the community members in mind, and we are not disturbed by another splinter group that purports to be fighting for a share of this land,” said Nakuo.
Some of the elders who addressed meeting included Oiputa, Juma, Kirayian and former chief, Joseph Orket.
The land in question is registered under Sheep and Goats Multiplication (L.R. 10029/2). The said land was originally within Maasai Reserve as proclaimed in the Native Trust Ordinance, Kenya Gazette number 394 of December 3, 1926.
Turere said 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.
He further claimed KMC later leased the said land from March 1, 1952, for use as a 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, it was said, 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 is needed for breeding and multiplication.
While addressing journalist at the farm near Kitengela, Turere said in 1981, 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.