Clan seeks compensation over land dispute

Members of the Gikuyu Aithiegeni clan in Nyeri have sued the government for Sh544 million as compensation for 85 acres of land allegedly grabbed by the British colonial government.

The 2,000 members filed the suit at the Lands and Environment Court on Thursday through lawyer Patrick Ngunjiri.

Mr Ngunjiri said an agreement was struck between clan elders and Britain for the land to be returned to the owners, but it was never honoured.

WORLD WAR

Moreover, he said efforts to raise the issue with successive governments have been futile.

For fear of reprisals from Britain, he explained, the clan surrendered the land in Ruring’u in 1942 after negotiations began in 1940.

They were displaced and then placed in concentration camps.

The lawyer said the colonial government wanted to use the property as a holding ground for wounded soldiers returning from Second World War and for government buildings.

AGREEMENT

He said the clan had also been promised compensation.

“The clan elders agreed that the land would be [returned to them] after the war following a meeting with the then Nyeri South senior chief, Mr Njaakio, and the district commissioner.

“However it was never returned and instead was used for sporting activities,” Mr Ngunjiri said.

STADIUM

Facilities like district office headquarters, a police training centre and hostels, Kiama hall and an agricultural showground were erected on the land.

In January this year, Sports Kenya acting Director-General Gabriel Komora said a stadium would be put up in Ruring’u.

In the suit, the clan has mentioned the National Land Commission, the ministries of Lands, and Sports and Culture, Attorney-General Githu Muigai, the Agricultural Society of Kenya and Sports Kenya as respondents.

According to the 124-page petition, the clan complained that after independence, the government and the Nyeri County Council developed the land by constructing facilities such as the provincial police training centre and a juvenile remand home, among others.

“The clan has through its 13 officials tried to engage successive independent governments through the Offices of the President, past ministries of Land and Physical planning, the National Assembly and the National Land Commission,” Mr Ngunjiri added.

INJUSTICE

He faulted the National Land Commission for failing to tackle the matter, based on Article 67 of the Constitution.

Mr Ngunjiri said that when land adjudication was carried out in 1958 by the colonial administration, the disputed land was surveyed and marked as Thegenge/Karia 730, 731, 732, 733, 734, 735 and 736 and other adjacent lands.

The case will be heard on October 24.

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Clan seeks compensation over land dispute