13 December 2012

Kenya: Ruto Ordered to Appear in Court Over Uasin Gishu Land Case

The High Court has ordered Eldoret North MP William Ruto to appear in court over a land-grab case in Uasin Gishu on February 4 next year.

An IDP, Adrian Muteshi has sued the MP over the 100 acre piece of land which he claims was grabbed during the 2007-2008 post election violence.

He says he was driven out of his land during the violence. He told Justice Rose Ougo that he got information from his workers that the people who took over his farm had been brought there by Ruto.

During a hearing at the Milimani Law Courts in July Muteshi said he met with Ruto and his lawyers in Nairobi in June and Ruto said he was willing to settle the case out of court. Muteshi however insisted on a court settlement instead because he wanted to get compensation for the five years which Ruto has been cultivating the land in Turbo, Uasin Gishu county.

The land is within Ruto's Eldoret North constituency.

Muteshi said he learned that Ruto bought the farm from Dorothy Jemutai Yator who subdivided it into nine titles. Muteshi said he had made many futile attempts to carry out an official search on his title in Eldoret lands registry as the staff were uncooperative.

The police and administrative officials refused to record his statement when he tried to report the matter to the authorities in Eldoret.

Muteshi said he wrote to the Commissioner of Lands on March 4, 2010 to complain and demand an explanation of how the commissioner allowed the illegal sub-division and sale of his farm.

Muteshi said the Commissioner of Lands failed to respond to his complaint forcing him to file the case in court. Ruto had told a press conference on March 19, 2012 that Muteshi's claims were "malicious." "Muteshi must be honest. Allegations that he was at the farm in 2008 is actually a fraud. I've been the area MP for 15 years and nobody lived on that farm. The last time somebody was seen on the farm was in 1992. Muteshi was not living in the farm in 2008," Muteshi said.

Ruto accused Muteshi of making up the 2008 date to tie him to the post election violence. He challenged him to lodge a formal complaint to the authorities.

"Muteshi has claimed that I evicted him from the land with the purpose of acquiring it. He alleges that I am either responsible or caused his eviction from his property. The smells of a scheme and machinations," Ruto said during the press conference.

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