Hundreds of Kenyans who had grabbed military land are now counting losses after the National Land Commission revoked their titles.
Among those set to part with 4,000 acres of land in Eldoret alone is the little-known entity, claiming to represent squatters-Leseru Tebeson Farmers.
NLC by the stroke of a pen has recommended to the chief registrar to revoke the title before vesting the land to the Principal Secretary of Defence, Torome Saitoti.
The Commission in its findings noted that the land was originally allocated to the ministry of Defence and reserved as Eldoret military camp where the 9 Kenya Rifles battalion(9KR) and Recruits Training school(RTS).
Kenya Ordinance Factories Corporation (KOFC) and buffer zones are also housed there.
KOFC is a State Corporation under the Ministry of State for Defence mandated to manufacture Hardware, Machinery and Equipment.
During the hearing, NLC was shocked to find that the military which has tanks, guns, jet fighters, helicopter gunships and lots of bullets had lost thousands of acres country wide.
During the hearing, the military was categorical that it has not surrendered any of its land to anyone.
The military remains one of the largest land owners in the country, an incentive that might have encouraged private developers.
Disturbed by land grabbing, Defence ministry complained to NLC through three letters.
It wrote to NLC September 6,2018 via letter Ref:MOD/28/18 A and September 18, 2018 via a letter whose reference is Ref:MOD/28/18 A.
The ministry also wrote another letter September 27 complaining that some private individuals have hived off their land without their consent.
This is despite that was acquired from private individuals by compulsory acquisition under the provisions Land Act in 1970s and early 1980s.
“Indeed the land was compulsorily acquired by the government by gazette notices numbers 2878 and 2879 of 24th September, 1976, gazette notices numbers 710 and 711 of 18th March, 1977, gazette notices numbers 110 and 111 of 19th January, 1979 amended by Corrigenda of 11th May 1979,”NLC says dealing a major blow to those claiming the parcel.
NLC derives its mandate from the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the National Land Policy (2009) and acts of Parliament, namely the National Land Commission (NLC) Act, the Land Act and the Land Registration Act, all of 2012.
Its broad mandate includes managing of public land on behalf of the national and county governments.
It also initiate investigations, on its own initiative or on a complaint, into present or historical land injustices, and recommend appropriate redress.
The term of the current NLC is set to come to an end February 19.
NLC also waded into Military land that has also been grabbed in other areas such as Nyanyuki, Samburu and Karen, near Deputy President’s official residence.
During the hearings at the Commission’s Annex Offices, the county government of Uasingishu expressed interest in Leseru Tebeson matter.
The Commission was told during the hearing that former President Daniel Moi had in 2000 directed that KDF cede some of the land to settle squatters.
Following the directive, the interested party said, KDF agreed to surrender 4,236.25769 acres(1,714.39 hectares) from its Eldoret land to Buheba and Kamagut settlement schemes.
KDF was then left with a total of 11,988.84 acres of land.
However, the land according to the interested party has never been degazetted and military is still in use of the land.
KDF during the hearing told the commission that a group known as Leseru Tebeson Farmers Self Help group alias Leseru Tebeson Limited and Leseru Tebeson Farmers Society began emerging from nowhere to claim ownership.
Leseru Tebeson Farmers Society claimed they were allocated the parcel through an allotment letter Ref 52945/133 dated February 2006, as squatter upgrading scheme.
They told NLC that they paid requisite amount of Sh 11,826,21 through a cheque No. 082854 and issued with receipt No. 52942 dated June 2,2006.
The group claimed that they were issued with a title deed registered as IR No. 194659 February 23, 2018.
The title, they claimed, was surrendered to Chief land registrar for subdivision into several parcels, the same is still on the process to date.
Eleven Kiplombe farms also had interest in the military land.
The 11 farms whose members are over 19,000 with an average of three acres each were also casualties of NLC’s probe, as their titles were also revoked.
The farms include Kiplombe farm limited, Kanetic farm, Kapng’etuny farm,Bhemba,Kapkeben,Emdin,Cheplasgei,Tikito,Kapsamoo,Songoliet, and Lewa Downs farm limited.
They told NLC that they legally acquired the parcel and they have been utilizing it ever since.
NLC would however hear none of their explanations.
In a similar strike of a pen, NLC dealt a major blow to Gituamba Enterprises limited, after recommending for revocation of its title.
The Military wrote letters Ref MOD/28/18 A dated September 6,2018, MOD/28/18 A September 18 and another one Ref MOD 28/18 A dated September 27.
It complained that their land within Kabete military camp had been hived off by private developers.
“The Commission recommends the Chief land registrar to revoke the titles purportedly owned and registered to Gituamba Enterprises limited as they fall within Kabete military camp,”NLC says.
Interestingly, Gituamba Enterprises limited did not appear before the commission but instead sent written submissions through Wambugu and Muriuki advocates.
They claimed that the property was acquired in full compliance of the law.
Gituamba said that they were issued with a letter of allotment by letter dated December 13, 1991 before making payments worth Sh 104,000.
The lawyers said they requested the commissioner of land to grant approval for subdivisions of the plot into three equal parcels through a letter dated June 23, 1992.
On February 28, 1995, the lawyers said,the commissioner of lands allotted parcel numbers 209/12345,209/12346 and 209/12345 to them.
Gituamba said an application of a new grant over the parcel was received at the department of lands, central registry before grants was prepared and fully registered May 26,1995.
They also submitted that they have been in boundary feud with the Defence over boundary issues.
Near Deputy President’s residence in Karen, 32 land ownership documents have been revoked as they are in military land.
Fearing for the worst, interested parties too kept off the hearings despite several attempts to summon them
Only, the military came out to defend their land whose original number is 23047.
“The Commission directs that Chief land registrar revokes the listed parcels and vest the land to PS treasury to hold in trust for the Kenya military,”NLC says.
A similar fate in what will be one of a major trump by the Kenya Defence forces,has hit Mount Kenya Self Help Group.
The Defence complained to NLC through three letters Ref MOD/28/18 A dated September 6,2018, MOD/28/18 A September 18 and another one Ref MOD 28/18 A dated September 27.
The land in question measures approximately 1,877.96 acres (760 hectares) in Kwa Mbuzi area, Nyanyuki.
Mount Kenya Self Help Group just like Gituamba did not show up during the hearings.
Aware of the awaiting fate, they did not attempt to submit copies of their submissions even after NLC made several attempts to reach them through Newspaper advertisements.
“The land was reserved for ministry of Defence as Nyanyuki military camp vides gazette notice No. 212 of 27th March, 1957,”NLC says.
The Commission says a letter of allotment Ref No. 189464 of 18th October 2000 was issued by the Commissioner of Lands to military.
“The Commission recommends that the purported subdivisions and or titles issued in respect of portions of this land are null and void and shall be expunged from records, if any, held by the Nyanyuki Land Registrar,”NLC says.
In a boundary dispute pitting Defence and Losesia group ranch in Samburu, NLC directed the two to look for independent surveyor to verify the issue.
They have since settled the matter with the ranch undertaking to surrender the title for excision of the encroaching area on military land.