Bird droppings force Gilgil community to vacate land

Community claimed right to the land for livelihood, KDF said maize attracted birds that left guano.

In Summary

•Mbegi Muridate community opposed order to vacate 10 acres, saying it was necessary for their right to sustenance and life. Court rejected the argument.

• Maize drying on property attracted birds that left droppings on adjacent KDF barracks, food processing factory roof and drainage for rainwater collection.

Farmers drying maize In Eldoret.
BIRD DROPPINGS: Farmers drying maize In Eldoret.
Image: FILE

This was a land case about bird droppings, guano, in Gilgil.

The Mbegi Muridate community in Gilgil has lost a rights violation case involving 10 acres after a judge dismissed their application. 

It was all about bird droppings. The community had been allowed to use the land, which it did not own, to dry maize. But the maize attracted birds that left droppings on an adjacent KDF camp and the roof and drainage of its food processing factory.

Judge D. Ohungo said the members of the community failed to demonstrate their rights to life were violated by the Kenya Defence Forces, which directed them to vacate the land.

“The petitioners (members of the community) offered no evidence to challenge these aspects of the respondents’ case. ...the petitioners failed to establish their claims that the respondents violated their rights under Article 26 and 47(2) of the Constitution.

"It follows, therefore, the petitioners are not entitled to the relief sought,” the judge said in his decision dated September 16.

The case was filed on behalf of the community by David Gathinji Kariuki. He sued the Kenya Defence Forces, Kenyatta barracks Gilgil and the office of the Attorney General.

Kariuki filed the case on November 30, 2020.

In his suit papers Kariuki claimed KDF infringed the fundamental rights of residents of the Mbegi Muridate community by ordering them to vacate a 10-acre parcel belonging to the Kenya National Highways Authority and Telkom, without giving them reasons.

He said the land was the community's main sustenance and the KDF action infringes on their right to life.

Kariuki said the action will hurt their right to farm and sell maize that they have been drying on the property after harvest, the court was told.

KenHA and Telkom had given the community consent to use the land for drying maize and other grains, which they have been doing for 15 years.

However, they were issued with a notice by KDF requiring them to stop doing so because their operations were attracting birds that left droppings on the army camp.

KDF said members of the community did not have any right to the suit property.

Their use of the land, the court was told, attracted and facilitated multiplication of numerous birds that perch on the KDF food processing factory adjacent to the land.

The birds also leave their droppings all over the factory roof and drainage system used for harvesting rainwater, it was said.

KDF filed court documents showing that it had filed a complaint to the local administration about the community’s conduct concerning maize drying and bird droppings.

A meeting was held and it was decided members of the community should vacate the land.

(Edited by V. Graham)

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