Kabarak High vows to fight eviction orders
The management of Moi High School Kabarak has said they will challenge a court of appeal judgment that ordered them out of a 100 acre parcel of land. The school yesterday instructed their lawyers, Juma Kiplenge and Job Kurgat, to file an appeal in the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the ruling.
Speaking in Nakuru at Kiplenge's office, principal Henry Kiplagat said the disputed land was "donated to the school in the early 1980s and has since then always been used for farming activities." The principal denied that there were school facilities built on the land saying that it was strictly used for farming. "There are no student hostels or staff quarters on the land in dispute. The land is actually situated opposite Moi High School Kabarak, Kabarak University and Moi Primary Kabarak," Kiplagat said.
He added that currently, the school was farming wheat and beans on the 100 acres. The Court of Appeal on Thursday reverted ownership of the land to farmer Malcolm Bell and gave retired President Moi and the Kabarak school six months to vacate the plot. Court of Appeal judges Martha Koome and Hannah Okwengu unanimously ruled that the school was in illegal possession of the land.
The two judges further directed that if the school fails to vacate within the six months, they will be forcefully evicted without further notice. The orders came after a nine year battle by Bell, who first moved to court in 2003 after Moi's exit from power. Koome and Okwengu overturned an earlier decision by High Court judge Muga Apondi who had validated the school's occupation of the land.
It emerged that Moi coerced Walter Bell, Malcolm's father, into giving the land and was in return promised that he would get the government's help to build a borehole, a cattle dip and channel electricity to his farm. The promises were never fulfilled. Bell told the appellate judges that when he first moved to court in 2003, Moi tried to purchase the land from him at market value but the negotiations fell through. "I received threats. I was told that if I continued with my claim, my family's entire land would be repossessed and I would be thrown out of the country since I was a 'mzungu'," Bell testified in court.
The Bell family owns 1100 acres of land next to the Kabarak institutions. Currently, the Kabarak complex which houses Moi primary Kabarak, Moi High School Kabarak, Kabarak university, a guest house, a dispensary and is home to the former president occupies 1,180 acres.