Kenya: Mega land scandal reported in Kericho where the DC, Chief, MPs and ex-civic leaders grabbed the land meant for the landless Talai clan

WRITES Leo Odera Omolo In Kericho Town.

A MEGA land scandal, which looked similar to the now infamous “Anglo Leasing Financial Scandal” has hit Kericho town like Tsunami. It has prompted the residents to call for the revocation of the allotment and start a fresh. This is after it has been discovered that those earmarked to be settled on the land were not given anything. But the D.C. and the Town’s chief had chosen to allocate the land for themselves.

The ex-Kericho Municipal Councilors, relatives and friends of the former MPs, and their political cronies undeservedly benefited from illegal allotment.

The residents were now up in arms appealing to the Kericho County governor Prof. Paul Kiprono Chepkwony to order for all the pieces o land which were dished out t undeserved persons revoked for fresh re-allocation.

Prof Chepkwony could not be reached for his comment as it was stated that he had travelled outside the region.

The scandal involved the peace of land parcel in the town ,which was set aside by the government to be use in settling members the landless Talai{Laibon} who returned to the region in 1962 after being force into colonial exile for 40 years by the former British Colonial rulers.

The Talai clan estimated to be numbering about 259 families have since been living in a small piece of land which belonged to the Municipal Council of Kericho in the most squalid condition.

Al l the previous KANU administration had failed to have the Talai clan settled on the land they can call their own ever since independence. But the defunct coalition government headed by he retired President Mwi Kibaki and the Prime Minister Raila Odinga had agree to have the matter solved once for all. The government negotiated with one of the multinational Tea companies operating in Kericho and Bomet Counties and secured the land which is next to the posh Tea Hotel.

The Prime Minister visited Kericho on several occasion in the company of the then Lands minister James Aggrey Orengo and it was agreed that the Talai people be settled.

Unconfirmed allegation and rumor say the DC had allocated himself five plots of 500X100 each using the names of his junior staff, mainly the local Kipsigis working in his office including Administration Policemen. The D.C.Joseph Njora has since been transferred to Makueni district in Eastern Province. All the alleged grabbed plots were sold like hot cake.

It is also being rumored that former Belgut MP Charles Keter who is now the Senator for Kericho had the lion’s share. All of his supporters and his multi-million cousin Ken Mutai were the beneficiaries. Former Kericho Mayor John Kauria, it is being alleged, to have grabbed several plots.

Most of the ex-Councilors who grabbed the plots are said to have quickly sold them and have since been seen driving sleek new cars in own.

The MP who benefited from the allocation included Magerer Lang’at [Kipkellion} and the Chief Town Duncan Bii is said to have allocate himself 12 plots.

Prior to the negotiation between he government and the Unilever Tea company, the company had already earmarked the plot toe used in establishing an aborreterum in own. The grabbers who seemed to have been in hurry moved in with the snake speed and started demarcating the land even before the el was sealed off and the land surveyed as required by the law. The grabbers went as far as breaking the beacons of the adjacent land plot and house belonging to the former director of the Brooke Bond tea Company Mzee Musa sang’.

Members of the Talai sub-clans were previously scattered in various districts whose inhabitants are the members of the larger Kalenjin ethnic groups. The had their ancestral land homes in Emngwen, Nandi County, Kericho and Bomet Counties, Baringo and Koibatek,mosty Eldama Ravine and in other regions.

But following the malicious ad falsified accusation by the colonial chiefs, white missionaries and white selrs, that they were practicing witchcraft, the Colonial administration in Kenya I the year 1934 ordered thathey be rounded up and exiled in a remote section of Gwassi Hills in South Nyanza.

Some of them were vanished in Northern Tanzania. Some of their elderly leaders were detained in Embu, Meru and Nyeri prisons where they died. Other were dispatched to Kismayu while one who was known as Arap Koilgen was detained on Mfangano island inside Lake Victoria where he died around 1956In 1961 one a diminutive Member of the Colonial Legislative Council the late Dr Taaitta Araap Toweett, who was representing the entire Kipsigis region moved a motion in the House asked the government to allow thetalai n toreturn toteir ancestral land. The motion which was supported by other MLC including Daniel T Moi, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Dr Julius Kiano,Tom Mboya and other nationalist was accepted by the colonial government.

And in the middle of the 1962 when it was only six months to the attainment of Kenya’s political independence

As political independence the journey of returning home.

The deal , however, was hurriedly and poorly negotiated and brokered with the British colonial administration and did not produce a tangible plan and program for the land on which the returnee could be settled on.

All the land previously owned by the Talai clan had been taken over by their neighbors and relatives during the many exile.

In Nndi the Talai oved nd settled in a place called Kaptel near the SDA University of East Africa {Barraton} and settle at Kapsisiywo, Other went to Cheranganyi,other to Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu districts and found land for them in the settlement schemes. Others went Eldama Ravine Iand Baringo County.

Their population had grew from 2700 to about 7000 people.So aboiut 200 family remain stuck as squatters in Keicho Municipality for all these years.

This is the can of the famous freedom fighter Orkoiyioyot Koitalel Arap Samoei w hose rug-tug forces of the Nandi warriors fought he British for nine years and also prevented tem from building and completing the Mombasa-Kisumu Railways l ine. Samoei was shot and killed in 1905 after he was tricked to attend a peace meeting with the head of the British expedition forces who shot it point-blank.

The Talai before their expulsion were being accused by the colonial chiefs of practicing sorcery and preventing the population from becoming member of the churches and the youth from acquiring modern education in schools run by missionaries. Other allegations were that they were intimidating the white settlers and stopping from acquiring more land for tea plantation in Kericho, Sotik ,Nandi Hills and other areas.


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