Turkana community in Isiolo wants land adjudication halted


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Members of the Turkana community living in Isiolo have demanded the revocation of the legal notice establishing the county as an adjudication area.

The hundreds of residents who converged at Game in Burat Ward, insisted that there was no adequate public participation before notice by Land Cabinet Secretary Faridah Karoney was issued in August 2019.

The locals from Akadeli, Leparua, Ngaremara, Kipsing, Aramach and Aremiet maintained that they are not opposed to titling but want the process done afresh in line with the Community Land Act, 2016.

Ms Celina Aspital said the adjudication process should be stopped until the pending cases in court, including one filed by residents against the October 2019 eviction by military, are heard and determined.

“Why is the county government coming in after the issuance of the notice whereas it was mum when thousands of our people risked being evicted from land claimed by the military at the School of Infantry?” Ms Aspital posed.


Areas excluded from the adjudication are Isiolo Township, Resort City, Lapsset corridor route, Kenya Defence Forces School of Infantry and Combat Engineering, national game reserves and holding grounds.

Mr Stephen Lobenyo said protection of the disputed land, including that claimed by the military, continues to create unease among residents who fear they will be ejected from their ancestral land and lose their inheritance to unscrupulous individuals.

“Implementation of the notice will negatively affect us as the Turkana community as thousands of our people living within the disputed land claimed by four KDF camps risk being evicted from the land where they have been living for more than five decades,” said Mr Lobenyo.

At the same time, Mr Anthony Chepriko complained that they are not aware of the areas where the Lapsset project will pass through and maintained that residents must be fully involved so that those affected are compensated before work begins.

The notice has widened the rift between Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti and five local MPs who have already moved to court seeking conservatory orders to stop its implementation, terming it illegal,

The MPs have argued that community land adjudication must be driven by the locals and not the county government.

Governor Kuti wants the notice amended so that adjudication is done only in townships and settlement areas while the rest of the land is registered as community land.

Joyce Nairisiae from Elsa Ntirim said thousands of locals would have been evicted from their ancestral land if Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo and Woman Representative Rehema Jaldesa did not move to court to challenge the October eviction notice by the Ministry of Defence.

The furious locals disowned a section of elders from the community who recently called for speeding up of the adjudication process, maintaining that they did not speak on their behalf.

They lashed out at the group that purported to represent the community and claimed that the elders had been coached by a county government official on what to say and, therefore, their utterances should be treated as personal opinions.

“It is unfortunate that instead of educating our people, especially the professionals, on the implications of the notice, the county is busy dishing handouts and misleading some elders to purport to speak on behalf of the community,” said Mr Peter Ngoro from Ngaremara Ward.

Senator Dullo, Ms Jaldesa, Nominated Senator Abshiro Halake, MPs Hassan Odha (Isiolo North) and Abdi Koropu (Isiolo South) have already written to the Ministry of Land requesting for the list of people with title deeds in the county.

The legislators threatened to move to the International Court of Justice to have the notice revoked should the Kenyan courts fail to serve justice to Isiolo residents.

“The notice is illegal and must be revoked. We are not opposed to titling but want the county to first get a community land title and conversion of ownership to public be done thereafter in consultation with residents and leaders,” said Ms Jaldesa.

“Governors Josphat Nanok (Turkana) and Ali Korane of Garissa opposed KDF and Lapsset project respectively. Why is Governor Kuti supporting it? We must dig out to find out why and ensure that our land is protected,” Ms Dullo said.

In his New Year’s speech, Governor Kuti said his administration is working closely with the Ministry of Land and other relevant bodies to ensure that those who will be affected by the Lapsset project are compensated.

“My government has initiated negotiations with the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Defence Rachel Omamo and I am happy to report that she has agreed to plan a meeting in future with other KDF top brass in efforts to amicably resolve the matter without displacing any resident,” Mr Kuti said in regard to the eviction notice given to Burat and Ngaremara residents.

He said his administration will continue reaching out to those with divergent opinions so as to reach an amicable and agreeable solution.

“My administration worked tirelessly with the boundary and dispute resolution committee and held several meetings with relevant bodies before settling on the amendment,” said Mr Kuti.

“I want to assure the public that adjudication will be done within the planned settlement areas at a certain radius depending on activities while the rest of the land will remain under the community,” he added.

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