Thirty-eight farmers in Elang’ata-Wuas, Kajiado County, have raised concerns as to how their neighbour’s land which was 555.0 ha in1975 is now 756.4 ha.
They claim that three managers of the neighbouring trust land invited a private surveyor on August 5, 2020, to carry out another survey on their land without involving them as is required by law.
“They engaged a private surveyor in the name of Nicholas Karanja from Geomatics Service Ltd without our knowledge. They later went to the county land registrar and obtained a new title indicating their land is 756.4 hectares,” said Tinti Saigilu.
But Karanja said on Monday the family had summoned some of the neighbours to witness the surveying process but only three out of 37 turned up. He however did not name the three he said were present.
“I established that the land had been underestimated and the actual number of hectares was 756.4 hectares,” said Karanja.
The surveyor said he did not move any of the beacons, outside or inside, and therefore the land in question is intact.
The land which is being held in trust for 25 beneficiaries by Benson Taiko, Lekenah Taiko and Lemomo Taiko, was demarcated in 1975 and later issued a title on September 25, 2006.
The owner of the title, now deceased, according to documents at the Kajiado Land Registry, is Nkoipurduyo Kiroyia Maika.
Maika was issued with a title; KAJIADO/ELANG’ATA-WUAS/17 and the land, according to a copy of the title, was estimated at 555.0 hectares.
After the land was re-surveyed, Lemomo said they acquired a new title – KAJIADO/ELANG’ATA-WUAS/17/3083 – on October 15, 2020, indicating the changes in acreage.
“All the beacons on the land are intact. I did not encroach on anyone’s land during the exercise,” said Karanja.
Speaking on behalf of all the affected farmers, Saigilu and Kila Oseur claimed that the three of the administrators allegedly planned to defraud them of their parcels of land.
“We have all the land documents including their original land title, land map and communication letters between them and the lands department,” said Saigilu.
But Lemomo explained that they were forced to re-survey the land after Windlab Developments Kenya Ltd approached them with the need to develop a hybrid renewable energy project.
Commenting on the same, the project manager at Windlab, Amos Katya said: “While Windlab is engaged in the wind power generation project in Kajiado, the company does not own the land in question. Windlab only has limited rights of access to the disputed land for purposes of undertaking tests”.
He said the trust land fell within the desired area for windmill turbines and therefore the family members wanted to know the exact measurement of the land as required by the investor.
According to documents in our possession, Windlab Kenya Ltd also engaged the owners of four parcels around the trust land, and they are KAJIADO/ELANG’ATA-WUAS/ 591, 593, 595, and 598.
Oseur and Saigilu claim that even after making written complaints to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the County Commissioner, the County Land Surveyor and the County Land Registrar, very little effort was made to assist them to get justice.
But documents obtained from the county land surveyor shows that the bearer of the office at the time, W M Kebaso, did advise the complainants on a letter Ref. LTD/KAJ/VOL.II/123 dated August 6, 2020, to call for a re-survey where all their members will witness the exercise.
“I advised them to do that but they started running to the police, the county commissioner and even to the Ministry of Lands in Nairobi,” Kebaso claimed.
Similarly, the district land registrar, PK Tonui in a letter – KJD/LND/ADM/GEN/Vol. III/128 dated November 2, 2020, put restrictions on all the activities on the KAJIADO/ELANG-WUAS/3083 formerly 17 until the complaint raised by the farmers is resolved.
The letter was addressed to the three managers of the trust land.
The letter said in part: “A complaint has been lodged in our office touching on your resurvey by your neighbours in that they were not invited during the said exercise.”
The complainants maintain that more than 600 acres have been hived from their parcels of land and now demand a re-survey in the presence of the police, county commissioner, and all the land officials.
But even after the county lands registrar put restrictions on the land, the company that has leased the trust land is working on it to install wind turbines.
Representatives of the 38 farmers around the trust land now want the Rift Valley Regional Commander, George Natembeya, to intervene on the matter before they take the law into their hands.