In Summary
  • Governor Waiguru says land ‘belonging to the nine clans of the Agikuyu’ was wrongly moved to Embu County in the 1960s.

  • Five people were seriously injured when a group opposed to the demarcation of the land attacked them with machetes and knives.
  • Mbeere South MP Geoffrey King’angi said the attackers were incited by “wealthy individuals who fear losing their large tracts of land”.

The uneasy peace on the 44,000-acre Mwea settlement scheme has been shattered by the Friday chaos which left several people hurt.

For about 30 years, communities occupying the land have tussled over ownership as State officials, politicians and residents engage in blame game.

Close to 200 security officers were deployed to the area on Saturday.

Five people, including retired district commissioner Ireri Ndong’ong’i, were seriously injured when a group opposed to the demarcation of the land attacked them with pangas and knives.

CAR BURNT

They had gone to inspect some demarcated pieces when the young men attacked them.

The men also burnt Mr Ireri’s car before disappearing into the bush.

They then blocked roads with logs and dug trenches to stop security teams and “government-imposed strangers” from getting into the land.

The disputed land in Mbeere South Sub-County of Embu County is occupied by the Mbeere, Embu, Kamba and Kirinyaga communities.

“The land was initially given to 7,200 people but the number rose to about 9,000,” Mbeere South MP Geoffrey King’angi said.

GRABBERS

Residents accuse some government functionaries of fuelling the violence “by importing strangers”.

“Imagine a situation where you have developed your piece of land and planted trees on it then someone with a posh car is brought in and you are ordered to leave. Where do you go?” Mr John Mwasya, a resident of Mwonjo township asked.

Mr Barnabas Mwangi from Karisa village said the delay in issuing title deeds had given grabbers a chance to descend on the settlement scheme.

“The government is the cause of tension. Hundreds of people have been camping at Makima divisional headquarters for four days waiting to be given allotment numbers. The government is oppressing us,” Mr Mwangi said.

DEMARCATION

A resident who requested anonymity said police had been brought in the area to scare them.

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