Quick military action during the inauguration of the KMC on Monday in Athi River stopped Maasai elders and morans from addressing the President.
The Kajiado Kaputiei Maasai have laid claim on the controversial Sheep and Goats demonstration farm saying their ancestors handed it over to the colonial government in the early 1940s for military purposes (2nd World War).
The land was later, after independence, handed over to the ministry of livestock for grading of red Maasai sheep and goats, but it has since been subdivided and handed over to state agencies.
So on the inauguration day at the KMC, the chairman and the secretary of the Empakasi Oolera Trust that oversees the Sheep and Goats land, James Turere and Wilson Kisemei, respectfully, and joined by about 250 morans walked to Athi River.
Kisemei, who is also aspiring to be the next Kajiado East MP, had been picked by the elders to address the President and to express their anger on the way he (Kenyatta) is handling their land.
But before President Kenyatta’s arrival, military intelligence picked Kisemei, who led a group of the Kaputiei community Maasai in chasing out armed KDF personnel last week when they found they were fencing part of the Sheep and Goats land they have laid claim.
Kisemei and the morans, along with other officials, were escorted by the army personnel out of Athi River to Mombasa Road and handed over to the police to guard them until the end of the function.
Kisemei, who has been vocal on the issues surrounding the land in Athi River in the last several years, on Wednesday last week accused the President of “dishing out our land” to state corporations without the community’s consent.
President Kenyatta, about two months ago, hived out some 2, 000 acres from the controversial land and handed it to Nairobi National Park for conservation purposes.
The community has since gone to court over the matter, and the High Court in Machakos has issued an order stopping all the activities on the land until the case is determined.
The contempt of court orders was issued in Machakos ELC PET EO9 of Empakasi Oolera Trust Vs Kenya Wildlife Service and 4 others.
The land that was being fenced by the KDF belongs to KMC.
The Kaputiei morans and their leaders had earlier met with Mavoko MP, Patrick Makau, and the agreement was that once the legislator was given a slot to speak in the KMC function, he would make public the woes of the Kaputiei Maasai.
The land in question is in the Mavoko constituency, and MP Makau was also not given a chance to address the inauguration ceremony.
An attempt by Makau to sneak Kisemei into the KMC factory was scuttled by the hawk-eyed KDF officers. Kisemei was bundled out of a tent he was sitting with MPs.
Former National Transport and Safety Authority boss, Francis Meja, on Tuesday, said over a long time the Maasai people have lost a lot of their ancestral land under questionable circumstances.
“It’s not fair for the government to continue in this trend. The Sheep and Goats farm and the Ngong veterinary farm have been the latest,” said Meja.
He said the cry of the community must be listened to and consulted before any action is taken.
On the other hand, the vice-chair of the county public service board, Purity Sein, said the continued pressure to deprive the Maasai community of their land rights in this time and age is “ridiculous”.
“We want the President to stop this oppression by some agencies because this issue is not only emotive but sickening,” said Sein.