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September 25, 2018

Settle Mwea scheme crisis, Wambora and Waiguru told

Elders from Embu and Kirinyaga Counties handshakes each other as a sign of peace over the dispute Mwea settlement Scheme yesterday in Embu Town
Elders from Embu and Kirinyaga Counties handshakes each other as a sign of peace over the dispute Mwea settlement Scheme yesterday in Embu Town

Elders yesterday urged Embu governor Martin Wambora and his Kirinyaga counterpart Anne Waiguru to settle the disputes around the Mwea Settlement Scheme.

Residents from the two counties are feuding as both counties stake claim to the tract. Lives have been lost.

The Nyangi Ndiiriri Council of Elders and those from Ngome in Mbeere, Kiama from Gichugu and Ndia, Kirinyaga, want Wambora and Waiguru to cut a deal over county borders and take charge of land subdivision.

The decades-old dispute can only end if the two leaders decide how to distribute the parcels, they said.

The elders were led by Andrew Ireri (Nyangi Ndiiriri), Machaki Kanyenji (Ngome) and Dickson Thambiri (Kiama).

Embu and Kirinyaga people live in the scheme. During the colonial period, they were under the same district and the same province, with headquarters in Nyeri town.

In April, the 44,000 acres were subdivided into 1,932 parcels. This was met with fierce opposition that prompted deadly clashes.

Former district commissioner Ireri Ndong’ong’i and four elders were among those injured.

Heavily armed police shot nine settlers who attempted to block surveyors from identifying parcels to beneficiaries. Kennedy Muvevi died of stomach injuries while receiving treatment.

Following the incident, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Lands counterpart Faridah Koroney stopped the identification indefinitely and called for investigations. Previously, elders from the communities had agreed on the direction the division would take.

They later accused politicians and prominent leaders of hijacking the process, influencing distribution and grabbing large chunks. They said most deserving squatters were ignored.

They now say the two governors can ensure fair distribution so they fix the problem once and for all.

The elders said the communities swore in Embu in 1933 to live in peace and laid a commemoration stone, which exists to date at the Eastern regional commissioner’s compound.

"District commissioner E.D. Emley witnessed the oath and the truce lasted since," they said.

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