FOR BYPASS INTERCHANGE

KDF, farmers dispute 4,000 acres near Moi Barracks in Eldoret

Some 1,200 affected families urge President to intervene, settle row with KDF that blocks access to their farms

In Summary

• Members of the Leseru Tebeson Farmers Society claim to have been allocated the land by the Ministry of Lands in 2006.

• The land is partly occupied by the Eldoret Bullet Factory owned by the Kenya Defence Forces, which insists the property belongs to the military. Part of it is used for training. 

 

A section of the disputed land near Moi Barracks which the government is using to develop the Southern Bypass interchange near Eldoret.
DISPUTED LAND: A section of the disputed land near Moi Barracks which the government is using to develop the Southern Bypass interchange near Eldoret.
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

A fresh dispute has erupted between KDF and 1,200 residents claiming ownership of more than 4,000 acres near Moi Barracks in Uasin Gishu.

The government is using part of the disputed land to build the Maili Tisa inter-change for the Eldoret Southern Bypass.

The residents are members of the Leseru Tebeson Farmers Society that claims to have been allocated the land by the Ministry of Lands in 2006.

The land is partly occupied by the Eldoret Bullet Factory, a Kenya Defence Forces enterprise.

Representatives of the society led by Kibereng Kisorio and Charles Walekhwa said KDF officers had blocked them from using the farm or bringing their relatives onto the disputed land.

Kisorio accused the KDF of ignoring court orders, saying they could remain on the land pending the hearing of the case.

“We have gone to court and obtained orders on the matter but it’s not possible to get into the barracks and serve the orders," he said.

Kisorio said they had paid more than Sh25,000 in fees to the Ministry of Lands to process subdivision and acquire ownership.

“We have our title for this farm yet KDF also claims to own the land and that is why we went to court so the matter is settled once and for all," Walekhwa said. He claims to own a plot in the disputed area.

Some people had planted maize, beans and other crops on part of the land but KDF has blocked them from accessing the farms to harvest.

“We are now pleading with President Kenyatta, who is also commander in chief of KDF, to intervene and ensure that our right to own the land is respected," Kisiorio said.

KDF has been using part of the land for training at the Moi Barracks Recruits Training College (RTC).

Several people have been killed by bullets fired from the training grounds.

KDF has said it is unsafe for communities to live near the barracks and the bullet factory.

“This is military land and even the Land Commission visited the area and confirmed the same," a senior KDF officer at Moi Barracks said.

The National Land Commission, under former chairman Muhammad Swazuri visited the farm to resolve the dispute that has been running for 25 years.

Its verdict was not communicated, the farmers said.

Efforts to get comment from the NLC office in Eldoret were not successful.

Kisorio said they are ready to provide all the necessary evidence to prove they own the land and they have also urged top KDF officers to visit and help resolve the dispute.

(Edited by V. Graham