Kenya: 10,000 Peasants Sue Laikipia County Govt Over Land

2 February 2021

The Marura peasant community wants Laikipia County government stopped from evicting them from a piece of land in Laikipia West constituency.

In an application certified urgent by Justice Yuvinalis Angima of the Nyeri Environment and Lands court, the over 10,000 community villagers said they were on the verge of being thrown out of their ancestral land.

They filed a case through their leaders Mr Peter Kirera as the chairperson of the community and Ibrahim Lesian as the deputy chairperson.

The community members sought temporary orders against the county government and the National Environment Management Authority (Nema), stopping them from interfering with their activities, until the case was determined.

The land, which lies along rivers Ngare and Narok, stretches across five wards of Salama, Kisiriri, Mutara, Rumuruti and Thome.

Since 2018, Mr Lesian, in his plaint, told the court that they have lived in fear after being threatened by the devolved unit through the police.

"If the threats are executed, we shall have nowhere to go, live or practice our farming from," said Mr Lesian.

Pastoral community

He said that they neighboured the recently evicted Kisiriri pastoral community and that in the year 2017, the county government had burnt down properties of its 3,000 members while trying to evict them.

Mr Lesian said the government told them that it did not formally recognise the reserve as their land.

"Former president Daniel Moi formally allocated and demarcated the subject land for us and we have lived here since then," he told the court.

The community also accused the government bodies of holding meetings about the land without their involvement.

Mr Lesian told Justice Angima that the respondents held three consecutive meetings in September last year in which they both decided to evict them.

He said that they were only presented with the minutes of the meetings afterwards.

The case will be heard on January 8, 2021.

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