• The land in dispute has vast iron ore deposits and the largest ore mine in the Coast region
• The inter-party hearing had been set for October 2 but was moved to January 29, 2020, due to non-appearance of the respondents
The orders barring the eviction of about 100 families from Kishushe Ranch in Taita Taveta have been extended.
Environment and Land judge Charles Yano on Wednesday restrained Kishushe Cooperative Society from evicting the families until January 29, 2020, when their petition will be heard.
The families accuse Kishushe Cooperative Ranch of fraudulently acquiring the land.
“Pending the hearing of this application inter-parties, I do hereby issue in the interim, order to restrain Kishushe Ranching Cooperative Society from evicting the petitioners from the land,” the judge said in Mombasa.
The inter-party hearing had been set for October 2 but was moved to January 29, 2020, due to non-appearance of the respondents in court.
Justice Sila Munyao, who was to hear the application, was officially away in Nakuru.
The respondents are the National Land Commission, Lands and Physical Planning Cabinet Secretary, Mining Cabinet Secretary, Taita Taveta executive in charge of Lands, and the Attorney General.
The families, through lawyers Claudio Mutua, Davis Mwakandana, Stephen Mwanyama, Regina Mwangecho, Beatrice Mwatela, Lyttleton Mkonu, Prudence Mdulo and Festus Mwawughanga, want fresh adjudication of the land.
They say they are not squatters as, according to them, the 18,000-acre ranch was their ancestral land.
The land has iron ore deposits. It has the largest ore mine in the coast region.
Lawyer Mutua told the court that the ranch owners had contravened earlier findings by NLC and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights that the title deed was illegally acquired.
Mining was suspended in 2014 over a similar dispute between the ranch owners and Wanjala Mining Company.
Samrudha Resources Kenya Limited is the new iron ore extractor.