The High Court in Eldoret has awarded two families Sh4.5 billion compensation for loss of 1,050 prime acres of land.
Justice Anthony Obwayo awarded the money to the families of Joseph Korir and Kiptot Sitienei who are both deceased.
Obwayo ruled that the land genuinely belonged to the two and that the government took over illegally.
The judge ordered the government to make payments, including all costs of the suit, to the beneficiaries through the consolidated fund.
The families will have to surrender the title deeds of the land before compensation can be effected.
“I order the two families to surrender the title deeds of the land to the government as a condition to access the Sh4.5 billion compensation," Obwayo said.
The land, which lies near the Eldoret Polytechnic along Kisumu road, includes the entire Langas Estate and is currently occupied by more than 200,000 people. On it are several public amenities such as schools and hospitals.
The judge said the two families produced original titles for the land but that current occupants had nothing to indicate ownership.
But Obwayo declined a demand by the families for those on the property to be evicted, noting their number was large - almost a third of Eldoret town.
He asked the National Land Commission to issue title deeds to those who have plots on the property registered as LR No 8500, also known as Eldoret Municipality block 22.
“Doing so would expose new land owners and other institutions to irreparable loses running into billions of shilling for their investments," the judge said.
Families living on the land expressed joy after the Judge declined to issue eviction orders.
The judge made the land mark ruling on Friday, more than 15 years since the families went to court. Pius Tot, the administrator of the land, sued on behalf of the families.
The case caused World Bank and Uasin Gishu county to halt development projects, including a Sh2 billion slum upgrade project, eight years ago.