Research Body Risks Losing More Land – MP

Grabbers are targeting more land at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation in Naivasha, even after head of public service Joseph Kinyua ordered investigations into the encroachment.

Kinyua’s memo seen by the Star shows Karlo has already lost nearly 5,000 acres to individuals and members of the Isahakia community.

Another group of Maasais have laid claim to about 10,000 acres, which is the whole land, threatening the existence of the research institution.

They say a 1904 agreement signed between the British government and their forefathers indicates the land was to revert to them after the expiry of the lease.

Documents show more than 4,000 hectares (9,800 acres) was set aside for research more than 110 years ago.

But grabbers started laying claim in 1972, with more illegal allocations in the 1990s by Kanu operatives who sold it to unsuspecting investors.

Gilgil MP Mathenge Ndiritu has asked the government to speed up the investigations and stop further encroachment.

“My concern is this is the only research land we have in these parts and it is being grabbed. Some powerful individuals are using local communities to take over the land,” Ndiritu told the Star yesterday.

“Security people have also been receiving orders from above not to interfere with the encroachers. If nothing is done, the entire regional hub for research will soon be in the hands of private developers.”

He said some influential individuals ferried people from Narok with building materials and instructions that they claim they have traditionally lived on the Kalro land.

Attempts by Kalro to flush out the invaders through court orders have been futile.

The organisation, under the Agriculture ministry, has obtained four orders, which have all been ignored by the encroachers.

The organisation first lost its quarantine farm in the 1990s.

The country at the moment has no quarantine facility following the irregular allocation.

“In fact, the 2007-08 outbreak of a poultry epidemic at the lower farm can be attributed to the loss of the quarantine farm and removal of the poultry farm to the lower farm,” a document seen by the Star reads.