LAND DISPUTE

Nandi Governor Sang arrested over farm invasion

He had gone to Kapsabet police station to record a statement on alleged destruction of tea on disputed land

In Summary

• Governor's lawyer files application citing threats against Sang and contravention of Constitution

• DCI, IG, AG and the DPP restrained from arresting, charging or harassing governor and executive

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang
NO ARREST: Nandi Governor Stephen Sang
Image: FILE

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang was arrested on Monday over alleged destruction of tea bushes on disputed land in Nandi Hills.

He said the land belonged to the community and had been used as cattle dip for 13 years before it was grabbed.

The governor had gone to record a statement at the police station in Kapsabet over the matter but was arrested and driven about 80km away to Kisumu central police station.

Pandemonium broke out as Sang's supporters tried to block a police vehicle from leaving the station, forcing anti-riot police to fire in the air and lob tear gas canisters.

People  scampered  for safety as police whipped those  who were unable to run fast as a huge cloud of smoke covered the entire police station and the surroundings.

Accompanied by his lawyers, an upbeat Sang was escorted by hundreds of his supporters to the station.

However, they were asked to leave as officers consulted with their superiors on where to take him.

The police vehicle carrying the governor was escorted by four police Land Cruisers each with 14 officers in full anti-riot gear.

 Sang had gone underground for two days as a team of detectives went round looking for him over the uprooting of tea bushes at a multinational estate.

Speaking earlier at a press briefing at his office, he said he would not be cowed by any threats in repossessing public land.

“His Excellency the President himself showed us the way when he ordered all public land be returned for public use and brought down Taj Mall. What is four acres under tea?” Sang sadi.

He asked Kibwari Tea Company and other multinationals which had grabbed public land to table title deeds  if they were genuine owners.

“These problems affecting people being oppressed by the rich and mighty must stop. That is why I brought in NLC to address historical and current land injustices in Nandi.”

Sang, armed with a power saw, joined the community in destroying tea bushes on the land measuring more than two acres last Friday. He said the community had sought his help to reclaim the grabbed land.

The governor said the county had, through its investigations, established that the land in dispute belonged to the community but there had been a criminal attempt to alter documents at the Lands ministry to facilitate grabbing. 

Bu later on Monday, the High Court in Eldoret issued orders restraining the DCI, the IG, the AG and the DPP from arresting, charging or harassing Nandi Governor Stephen Sang.

Similar orders were issued for Bernard Kiplimo Lagat, a county executive in Nandi.

Justice Stephen Githinji issued restraining orders following an application by Sang’s lawyers led by Tom Ojienda.

“The respondents or their agents are restrained from charging, prosecuting, arresting, continued harassment, questioning, intimidating, apprehending the applicants on any matters concerning the alleged possession and use and development of a cattle dip on the property”,  the order read.

Justice Githinji directed that the orders be served on the DCI and the others named as respondents within the next 14 days.

He said the court registry would set a hearing date.

Ojienda filed a petition citing threats against Sang and contravention of the Constitution.

(Edited by R.Wamochie)