• The Uasin Gishu Property Owners and Ratepayers Association says its members were not consulted on the proposed rates
• Governor Mandago and DP William Ruto say there is a need to increase the rates but after public participation
Traders and landowners in Eldoret have gone to court to stop Governor Jackson Mandago’s administration from increasing land rates by more than 600 per cent.
The Uasin Gishu Property Owners and Ratepayers Association says the land valuation roll released last week should not be enforced.
Three of the traders – Kipkorir Menjo, Moira Chepkok and Sammy Mukienei – want the Lands and Environment Court in Eldoret to restrain the county government and the county assembly from adopting and enforcing the Land Valuation for Rating Roll 2019 released last week.
“We also seek to have the court stop the ongoing inspection of the land valuation roll pending the conducting of public and stakeholder participation as provided for in the Constitution,” they said through lawyer Angu Kitigin.
Justice Anthony Obwayo ordered the parties to appear before him today (Friday).
The association says its members were not involved in the land valuation process through public participation and civic education.
It accuses the county government of failing to distribute the burden of taxation fairly by imposing Sh20,000-Sh120,000 rates which landowners, farmers, and traders say are punitive and unaffordable.
Lawyer Tito Chepkilot, for the county government, argues that the administration acted in line with the Land Valuation Act and that the traders have no legal standing to the file suit.
Last week Deputy President William Ruto and Governor Mandago defended the new land rates in Eldoret town and its environs but said they should be enforced after public involvement.
Ruto said he would, as a resident of Eldoret, give his views during public participation.
He, however, said that while there was a need for land rates increment, the amount to be applied should be affordable.
“Even the value of land here has gone up and the land rates cannot remain the same. We are all residents of this town and we need to have meetings and agree on how best to move forward,” Ruto said.
The DP, Mandago and Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi spoke at Yamumbi.
Mandago said the rates were last reviewed 20 years ago. Since then, the value of land had skyrocketed, hence the need for fresh valuation to determine the new rates.
“We have not so far increased by 600 per cent as claimed by some residents. What we have is just a valuation roll and everyone should go and check before we have meetings for public participation,” the governor said.
The rate for half an acre in Kimumu has been Sh3,400 annually, but the landowners will be paying Sh24,000 if the new roll is adopted.
The land was valued at Sh2.4 million during the recent evaluation. It is expected to attract one per cent charge rate.
Landowners in Pioneer have been paying Sh4,000 annually for a quarter acre. They will be paying Sh90,000 as per the new roll.