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Monday, August 21, 2017

Resettle us before August polls, 5,000 Nandi squatters tell state

Senator Sang when he visited the squatters on March 6th in Nandi Hills./MATHEWS NDANYI
Senator Sang when he visited the squatters on March 6th in Nandi Hills./MATHEWS NDANYI

More than 5,000 squatters in Nandi county want the government to resettle them before the August 8 general election.

They have urged Senator Stephen Sang to help them pursue all pending and new cases on land injustices.

The squatters have endorsed the “Nandi Hills Declaration”, recognising Sang's efforts to deal with land problems in the region.

“We have land injustices and we recognise the fact that among our leaders, the senator has been consistent in seeking to help us get assistance,” the squatters said in a statement read by Dr Kiplimo Lagat.

The said huge chunks of the land in Tinderet and Nandi Hills constituencies belonged to the Nandi community before the arrival of the British colonialists, but the community was wrongfully, forcibly and maliciously evicted from its ancestral land.

The squatters said the county government, in collaboration with national government and other agencies, should develop and implement a comprehensive resettlement programme for them.

Lagat said the county should set up a legal framework to renegotiate terms of engagement with all multinational tea estates, which will include a comprehensive social corporate responsibility programme targeting Nandi residents.

“The Nandi government should, in consultation with Nandi people, immediately embark on an all- inclusive, comprehensive, consultative and realistic programme of addressing historical injustices on long-term and permanent basis,” the squatters said.

Paul Keino said a senior politician has been harassing and intimidating them over the land demands.

Sang said all perpetrators of injustices against squatters in Nandi have a window to return all illegally acquired land to the rightful owners, or they will use all available constitutional means to get back the land.

“The black colonialists who are harassing and torturing our own people should know their time is up. The squatters will not suffer endlessly,” he said. Most of the squatters live along escarpments and rocky areas.

Sang, former ministers Henry Kosgey and Felix Koskei are among aspirants running for governor. They will compete for the Jubilee ticket against Governor Cleophas Lagat.

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