Recent conflicts in Laikipia County pitting ranchers against pastoralists with some political spicing up, obscure a fact; some of the ranchers have been there for more over 100 years.
They made Kenya their home, long before uhuru. Take the case of the Aggetts who arrived in Kenya around 1909 from the Eastern Cape in South Africa and before that Devon, England. They were a large family; Thomas Edward Aggett had married William Alexander Smith’s sister Marjorie Weir Smith and William Alexander Smith had married Thomas Edward Aggett’s sister Emma Jane Aggett (No error!).
Thomas Edward Aggett had 9 children; three sons and six daughters. The pioneer families first bought land in the Mara but later migrated to Laikipia. The Governor of Kenya granted the pioneers 5,000 acres per family in the Narok area of the Mara.
In 1911, the Government made agreements with the Maasai that the settlers would be moved to Laikipia and allocated 7,500 acres instead of the 5,000 acres they owned in the Mara. Thomas Edward Aggett never made it to Laikipia but stayed back on a farm near Naivasha, but many of his descendants did take up land in Laikipia.
His son George Chick Aggett took up the land in Laikipia around 1918 after the East Africa Campaign. The original family farm was Mutara Farm which was later sold. The Kenya gazette of 1925 lists Chick’s electoral area as Laikipia.
He partnered with a relative to purchase Kifuku Estate which he later became the sole proprietor in 1956. Kifuku is famous for Beef cattle and Dairy Ranching with a registered Boran Breeding Stud –”Kifuku Borans”. Kifuku Estate although one of the smallest ranches in Laikipia has passed through three generations.
George Chick Aggett passed Kifuku Estate to his children including Clive Aggett who passed it on to his children including the late George Aggett who died in plane accident last year. The farm is currently being run by his sister Maria Dodd (nee Aggett) and her son George Dodd.