- They were allocated government trust land in Kapsinende/Sirgoit but a private developer is now claiming ownership of the same land.
- A representative of the families, Fredric Chebet, says they want the government to intervene and assure them of their safety.
More than 1,500 people whose families were relocated to create space for expansion of Iten town in 1978 have protested over threats of eviction from a farm where they are resettled in Uasin GIshu.
They were allocated government trust land in Kapsinende/Sirgoit in Uasin Gishu county but a private developer is now claiming ownership of the same land and has threatened to have them evicted.
They have lived on the land for more than 40 years after the government relocated them to pave way for expansion of then-Elgeyo Marakwet district headquarters and other public institutions.
The enraged families who staged demonstrations allege that the developer is using fake title deeds to evict them from the land they were allocated by the government as compensation.
A representative of the families, Fredric Chebet, says they want the government to intervene and assure them of their safety, arguing that it’s the state which relocated them to the area.
“This is our land, we have been living here since 1978, the government gave us the land and we will not move from here again. We will not accept a second eviction from our homes,” Chebet said.
He said they gave up their land in Elgeyo Marakwet for construction of public institutions such as Tambachi TTC (Teachers Training College), Iten District Hospital, Patrick’s High School Iten and Iten police station, among other public institutions.”
Speaking during the demonstration, the furious families claimed hired goons had sprayed their maize plantations with a killer chemical that led to the withering of maize in the affected farms.
“The developer is now using criminal means to ensure we are out of our farms,” Chebet said.
He said unless the state intervenes, residents may also use all possible ways to protect themselves and their land
“All our maize plantations have withered following a move by a person who claims to be the owner of this property to spray killer chemicals to our maize crops,” he said.
They also want the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the title deeds in the possession of the private developer.
“We suspect the private developer is using fake titles and other documents to claim the land which is clearly our property,” he said.
Yusuff Keitany, who is also one of the affected people, said their complaints to the local administrators had been ignored.
“We have been to so many government offices and urged them to intervene but our pleas have been ignored,” he said.
Keitany said the grabbers are threatening to also relocate the only primary school in the area, which serves more than 2,000 children from the affected families.
“The government officers we expected to intervene and help us have been making empty promises and no follow-ups. Now this is a security matters because someone is even using chemicals to threaten our lives”, Keittany said.
Uasin Gishu county commissioner Edyson Nyale said his office was not aware of the complaint by the families.
“Let them report to the matter to me and we will follow up immediately,” he said.