TRESPASS

Makuyu club tells Kakuzi to keep its cattle off golf course

Fruit exporter has appealed a court case it lost over the ownership of the 70-acre parcel.

In Summary

• Honorary secretary Stanley Kimani said Kakuzi unleashed 800 head of cattle on the golf course on October 19 last year just days after losing a court case over the ownership of the 70-acre parcel. 

• Kimani said several police officers kept watch as nine herders brought the cattle to graze on the golf course.

A golfer plays at Makuyu golf course during the Clergy and Friends tournament on October 29 last year.
A golfer plays at Makuyu golf course during the Clergy and Friends tournament on October 29 last year.
Image: Alice Waithera
Cows grazing at Makuyu golf club's golf course on Tuesday.
Cows grazing at Makuyu golf club's golf course on Tuesday.
Image: Alice Waithera

Makuyu Golf Club members have asked Kakuzi to desist from grazing its cattle on their course.

Honorary secretary Stanley Kimani said Kakuzi unleashed 800 head of cattle on the golf course on October 19, last year just days after losing a court case over the ownership of the 70-acre parcel. 

Kimani said several police officers kept watch as nine herders brought the cattle to graze on the golf course. Kakuzi also filed an appeal against the judgment on the same day.

He said the company had started unleashing cattle on the course to antagonise them since 2017. 

But Kakuzi said the two parties agreed to maintain the status quo in civil application No. 345 of 2019, the appeal the company filed.

Simon Odhiambo, head of corporate affairs at Kakuzi, said the status quo allowed the firm to harvest hay, graze cattle and use golf course roads as the club held its sporting activities.

"The matter remains in court. We await final judgment on the appeal," he said in a statement.

Kimani said once the appeal is concluded, the club plans to establish a major hotel will facilities for members and accommodation for guests. 

The conflict has made it impossible for the club that has about 300 members to expand and recruit more players, he said. 

"So far, we have 50 active members who play every first and third week of the month and a tournament that occurs every five weeks," he said.

Kakuzi and the golf club have tussled over the ownership of the 70-acre golf course situated along the Kenol Sagana highway since 2002.

The company drafted a lease agreement in 2000 that required the club to pay rent for the course. The club refused.

Kakuzi also used its guards to stop the construction of the club's changing room after the foundation had been laid. 

The club sued for the ownership of the course and sought orders for the company to be prohibited from interfering with their golfing activities.

The case, however, dragged on until October last year when Machakos judge L. Gacheru ruled that the course belonged to the club. He ordered that it be registered as the absolute owner.

"The plaintiff has acquired title to the said land by its adverse possession thereof of a period of more than 12 years from 1934 to date," the judgment read.

The judge said Kakuzi's managing director in 1997 had acknowledged that the course's land was donated to the club way before the company bought the land in 1967.

Kakuzi did not bother to take possession of the land and instead donated four extra acres of land for a clubhouse.

"Considering the evidence before me, I am satisfied that the plaintiff's use of approximately 72 acres as a golf course has been continuous, exclusive and without the permission of the defendant. The defendant's title in respect of the land has therefore been extinguished by the effluxion of time," it continued.

The company had supplied the club with diesel and petrol, paid wages for security guards and golf course employees and maintained buildings in the course.

Following the judgment, the club celebrated by hosting a tournament dubbed 'Clergy and Friends' as the players anticipated growth and announced major development plans.

The club was started in 1934 after several white settlers contributed portions of land for the golf course.

Settlers occupied leadership positions in the club until 1982 when the first African chairman took over and by the late '90s, the leadership had transitioned to Africans.

 

(edited by o. owino)