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Friday, 14 October 2011

The Anchor October 2011: Konza Ranch

Angry Konza farmers take
war to NEMA'S door step 

KONZA Ranching appears set to push the ranch subdivision to higher levels.
 This was manifested by a delegation of seemingly enthusiastic 40 members of the Konza Ranching and farming cooperative society who made an unannounced visit to NEMA headquarters to at the expiry of a 14 day ultimatum passed by the members at their last Annual General Meeting.

Konza Chairman Mr David Mutangili says the ranch officials will use all open legal avenues to subdivide the land according to the wishes of members. “All we are pursuing is the order made by the owners of Konza Ranch that they want it sub-divided.”, Mr Mutangili said.

The farmers stormed National Environment Management Authority(NEMA) headquarters in Nairobi demanding an explanation as to why they have not been issued with a subdivision license by the authority.

 The disgruntled members said the society has complied with all the necessary requirements for subdivision of the over 17,000 acres situated next to the Malili ICT City and that they wanted to be told whether there are reasons unknown to them that are preventing the subdivision of the ranch.

 They told the officials that the issuance of the license has taken too long therefore denying them the right to subdivide and develop their land. The group, led by John Mbuvi said the 1594 members had agreed to subdivide the land because all the neighboring ranches like Malili had been subdivided.

 They believe that a group of wealthy people and some politicians are behind the delay and are arm twisting NEMA not to issue them with the license until such a time that the influential people can have their own hirelings in charge of the ranch to facilitate them to steal from farmers like was the case in Malili.

This belief  is supported by an incident where Ranch officials led by Mr Mutangili were summoned to CID Headquarters to record statements over alleged misappropriated money. The same lawyer for Malili Ranch Eric Mutua, under whose watch Malili Directors Peter Kanyi and Julius Kilonzo were removed from office and prosecuted on convoluted charges, drove accusers of the Mutangili team to CID Headquarters. The plan seems to have Mr Mutangili arraigned in court, lose office as Chairman of Konza, install other directors and then sub-divide the land.

“ We feel like some powerful people are behind the whole saga because we wonder why the rest of the neighboring ranches have subdivided their land without a problem but when it comes to our ranch there is delay yet we have complied with all NEMA demands.” posed Mr Mbuvi

“We are very saddened by the games being played on us by unseen forces who do not want us to subdivide our land. We have children who are pushing to give them a place to construct their homes and for us to develop our land.” said a member, adding that most aging members want to see this transition before they die.

 At hand to meet the group was NEMA Acting Director General Kennedy Ondimu, Acting Director for Legal Services Irene Kamunge and Acting Director  for Compliance and Enforcement  Mr Zephania Ouma.

 Mr. Ondimu  urged the members to be patient and give the authority until  October 12 2011 for a concrete response on the matter. He said that a technical committee which had been formed to look into the matter has not tabled its report to the authority and therefore they cannot make a decision at the moment.

 “NEMA is guided by laws and one of the laws is that a technical committee was formed to look into the issue and so we have to wait until it tables a report on the same. I beg you to exercise patience and give the authority until 12th of October for a clear response.” Ondimu said.

 The members agreed to the decision but vowed to take the matter to the office of the Prime Minister   and the President if the matter is not solved.

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