• MP Bwire said the land was set aside from the lake Jipe settlement scheme as a wildlife corridor in 1994.
• Land ownership remains a thorny issue in many parts of Taita Taveta county.
Police were on Tuesday forced to lob teargas canisters to disperse residents who were protesting against alleged land grabbing in Orkungu, Taveta constituency.
Two people were injured as hundreds of residents tried to bring down an electric fence under construction on the disputed land.
The protesters want a private developer evicted from the estimated 902.7 acres set aside as a wildlife corridor.
“There has been mass destruction and environmental degradation in the area since last year. The purported investor is clearing the land without the community’s consent,” Taveta MP John Bwire, who led the protesters, said.
He said the land was set aside from the Lake Jipe Settlement scheme as a wildlife corridor in 1994 and remains a community land.
The legislator said the elephant corridor was established by the then state department of Adjudication and Settlement for Land after a proposal by former Taveta MP Basil Criticos.
Bwire further warned those erecting the fence to stay off the land, vowing that local leaders will not rest until the land is returned to the community.
“Thousands of Mata residents have been living on 300 acres while their land is being taken away. The current land is not enough due to the population growth,” he said.
Bomeni MCA Crispus Tondoo and his Mboghoni counterpart Harifa Taraya asked the government to protect the community against unscrupulous investors who have rendered residents squatters.
They said residents have been subjected to poverty for lack of land, urging land officials to intervene and revert the land back to the community.
Land ownership remains a thorny issue in many parts of Taita Taveta county with unending land tussles.
Last month, Governor Andrew Mwadime said cases of land grabbing are on the rise, especially in Voi town.
He said some rogue officers are working with land cartels to grab land at the expense of the community.
Other areas with cases of land grabbing include Kishushe, Mwatate and Mata in Taveta.