Victims of land grabbing in Trans Nzoia County have been asked to petition the Senate to enable them to receive favorable justice.
Senate Committee on Land, Environment and Natural Resources Chairperson Senator Githiomi Mwangi remarked Tuesday in Kitale town during a public hearing over a disputed piece of land involving Kitale School and a private developer.
Githiomi was accompanied by the committee’s Vice Chairperson Senator Philip Mpayeei, area Senator Dr. Michael Mbito, Lands Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Mr. Alex Mburi, National Lands Commission (NLC) Commissioner Professor James Tuitoek, and Trans Nzoia County Commissioner Mr. Samson Ojwang.
The Senator expressed the committee’s regret over what he described as increased land grabbing and dispute cases in Trans Nzoia County.
“For the favorable resolution of many land dispute cases in this county we urge affected citizens and institutions to petition the Senate, the same way Kitale School has done, instead of suffering in silence or making unattended to complaints in the public,” advised Githiomi.
On the Kitale School issue, the Nyandarua senator assured members of public the senate will ensure the school reclaims any grabbed piece of land.
He warned the alleged land grabber Mr. Nathaniel Tum, former Kenya Seed Managing Director, against intimidating the school’s management and petitioners. “We are not here for any political gains,” stated Githiomi, warning that the Senate committee cannot be compromised by anybody.
Tum has been accused of illegally allocating to himself about 10 out of 55 hectares of land belonging to the school between 1993 and 1994 when he was the institution’s Parents Teachers Association (PTA) chairperson.
“Today we have established enough facts that will enable my committee to prepare a detailed report that would eventually guide the senate in making a favorable ruling over the alienated land at Kitale School,” said Githiomi.
After listening to the petitioners and the accused, Githiomi directed the relevant authorities, including the departments of land and survey, to conduct a resurvey of the 10 hectares piece of land before the committee prepared a comprehensive report.
“I should be able to finish working on the report before the end of next week,” he noted.
The Senate lands committee boss promised to table the report before the floor of the house in September this year. “The main objective for this visit today was to ensure Kitale School
receives back the land belonging to it,” he emphasized.
The Senate Committee was walked through the school’s section of land that was hived off by the private developer and which has the girl’s dormitory, sewerage system, and a tree nursery.
Presenting the petition to the committee, ACK Diocese of Kitale Bishop Emmanuel Chemengich argued the procedure of allocating the public land attached to Kitale School was illegal and unprocedural.
“This complaint before the senate concerns the illegal alienation of land belonging to Kitale School Primary by a private developer, one Nathaniel Tum, who conspired with the Commissioner of Lands to alienate 10 acres of the school land,” stated Chemengich.
According to official documents at the lands ministry, the school applied for allotment of land and title deed in 1983.
“During this period of applying for an allotment letter, the private developer was Chairman of the PTA at Kitale School Primary and a member of Board of Governors (BOG). He offered to help in the process of acquiring the title,” reported the petitioner.
Chemengich pleaded with the Senate committee to grant justice to the institution, “so that our three decades struggle was not wasted,” he argued.
While dismissing the petitioner, Tum insisted he legally acquired the piece of land in 1994 before embarking on the process of developing it.
“I am the legal owner of this land, for which I have invested over Sh.250 million in terms of development. In fact, the late President Daniel Moi officially opened the petrol station that sits on it,” claimed Tum.
An earlier attempt by the visibly agitated Tum to stop the public hearing event was squashed by Githiomi and Mpayeei. However, the Senators strongly warned Tum against invoking the former President’s name in the disputed land issue.
Senator Mbito who is an alumnus of the school described Tum as a serial land grabber who should be thoroughly scrutinized by investigation and other security agencies.
“Nathaniel Tum is a serial land grabber who has been adversely mentioned in Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) land grabbing scandals,” claimed Mbito, adding the alleged information should assist the
the committee as it prepares its determination.