Kenya News

Laikipia residents want access into disputed ADC Mutara land

Residents of Suguroi area in Laikipia County now want to be allowed access into the disputed ADC Mutara land in Rumuruti town.

The residents, most of them pastoralists, called on Parliament to investigate the circumstance under which the section of the 64,000-acre Mutara farm which is owned by Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), a government parastatal, was leased to powerful individuals in the country in 2015.

The community said the leasing of 15-acre section of the farm was unlawful for it failed to consider their status as a marginalized group and impeded their access to the farm.

The residents led by Mr Mark Lekarabi said that police officers who have been deployed to the farm have been subjecting members of the community to harassment, false arrest and malicious prosecution.

Mr Joseph Lenolkulal said that the management of the farm had also diverted River Saguta and River Pesi to their farm hence denying them access and their animals to water.

They said that before the land was leased out, local residents would pay Ksh 200 monthly to ADC to allow them to graze their animals in the vast grassland adding that this is no longer tenable with armed police providing round the clock surveillance.

Mzee Kaishu Leshondo said that they were being forced to drive their animals for long distances in search of pasture and water since they were denied to graze inside the Mutara farm.

A month ago, government profiled seven hot spot areas and ranches in Laikipia County for a major security operation to flush out illegal herders and bandits with the ADC Mutara ranch being one of the areas.

Other profiled areas included the vast Laikipia Nature Conservancy owned by conservationist Kuki Gullman in Laikipia West, and the 80,000-acre Kirimun farm in Laikipia North.

In 2015, a section of the residents moved to court to challenge the move by ADC to lease out the land.

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