Group in court to haveallocations reversed
|Konza members at a past AGM|
A storm is brewing in Konza Ranch with a group of farmers from Kalama Location seeking to have the allocation of land to shareholders reversed.The row was precipitated by the dramatic election to the Management Committee of formerly expelled farm Manager Danson Mbuvi.
Mbuvi was shown the door immediately the committee sat, citing a regulation in the co-operatives law that allegedly prohibits a person who has sued a society from being a member f its management committee. Mbuvi is seeking his terminal and gratuity for a long term service as Konza ranch, whose determination is yet to be made in court.
When he was locked out and the location asked to elect a new name, they responded by going to court seeking the expulsion of the committee from running the ranch. Once their lawyer made an exparte application at the Co-operative Tribunal, the team, led by Paul Mbole and Businessman John Kangaatu obtained the orders and Konza remained without a committee for a week, exposing society property to risk as the court had not made a proviso on who would run the ranch in the absence of the committee.
This forced the Management, led by Chairman David Mutangili to seek a variation of the blanket order, which if left in place would have paralyzed the ranch and endangered its property at a time when the 1595 members has acquired individual plots and were set to dissolve the ranch.
In the eyes of many, the order exposed the soft belly of the Co-operative Tribunal to the extent that it can give such blind orders that can usher anarchy in the management of a society.
This order caused tension, with society members alleging that a plan was a foot to steal properties that the recent Annual General Meeting had authorized the management team to sell. So when the Directors went to overturn the order, hundreds of members of the Konza ranching and farming society thronged the Co-operative Tribunal court in Nairobi to know the fate of the society’s case filed against the management committee by a section of them.
The presiding tribunal Vice chairman Beatrice Mathenge expressed concern over the presence of the teaming number of visibly agitated farmers in her court.
The case filed by seven members had earlier obtained an order barring the management committee from carrying out any activities of the society until the suit is heard and determined.
Amid tension, the court backtracked and allowed the committee to transact normal business of the society as usual except selling or transferring any form of land deal.
The decision was agreed between Mr Makundi and Society lawyer Mr Morris Mulei, after the court saw the wisdom of not issuing a blanket order restraining the committee from carrying out all operations of the society.
Ms Mathenge also allowed the members to develop their already allocated plots pending the case determination but prohibited any transfer of the same by the society’s management committee.
The complainants want the allocation of the said land be nullified, citing undisclosed irregularities involved in the allocation exercise. They also want the committee to be stopped from selling any movable and immovable machines, a prayer that the court turned down.
Ms Mathenge told the plaintiff’s lawyer to be specific on his prayer forcing him to reluctantly drop other demands only to remain with the land issue only.
The plaintiffs allege malpractices in the allocation of land and are demanding an audit of the process. The most curious plea is the nullification of the allocations, bearing in mind that hundreds of farmers have already sold off their 10.8 acres and 2 acre-parcels to non members.
Mr Mbole and Mr Mbuvi were reinstated as member as a part of the settlement of a case they launched challenging a more that 10-year expulsion from the ranch. Mbole is a long time chairman of the ranch.
As part of the settlement deal, the two were cumulatively offered over 60 acres of land and it remains to be seen if the plea to reverse the allocations would also affect their court-recorded settlements.