Hundreds of homeless squatters have filed a suit in an Environment and Land Court in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County to sue a tea company associated to Henry Kiprono Kosgey over forcible displacement from ancestral land. Led by Francis Kibet Busienei, over 300 squatters claim they were evicted from their inherited land in Nandi Hills in order to expand land for Kipkeibon Tea Estate.
They claim they were allocated 72 acres instead of 142, leading to ten years of court battle. High Court judge Anthony Ombwayo directed Nandi County surveyor to establish the actual acreage of the estate before hearing in 30 days.
This case is almost similar to allegations that were raised in quest of Kapkagaron/Kaprochoge farm ownership near Taboiyat and Siret. Though unconfirmed if the case entered into the corridors of justice like the one above, clashes erupted in mid 90’s between Kosgey and Nandi Hills residents when armed GSU officers descended and dispersed people who had gone to the farm to clear bushes and divide the land according to their numbers. Critics claimed it was a public land grabbed by Kosgey. Residents later decided to press the government to put up a university in the land but all never became successful. The land is occupied by tea, said to belong to Henry Kosgey.
Brief Track Record
Henry Kosgey, who was recently appointed by president Uhuru Kenyatta as chairman of the Tourism Fund was dealt a blow in 2013 elections when he contested for Nandi County senatorial seat and lost miserably. He had served as an MP for Tindiret Constituency (current Nandi Hills and Tindiret combined before devolution) for over 30 years and his loss is largely attributed to mistrust due to several cases of land grabbing and poor development during his longest tenure as member of parliament.
Lost Millions and The Collapse of KNAC
In 1987, then serving as a minister for Culture and Social Services, Kosgey was part of the team that invited an American marketing consultant Dick Berg. Berg was to assist in raising funds to host the All-Africa Games in Kenya. Berg was accused of fleeing the country with roughly Ksh 263,795,090 before the games began. It was also alleged that Kosgey participated in the looting of assets of the Games’ organizing committee and misappropriating funds meant for the games for personal use.
Five years later, in 1992 Kosgey was blamed for downing Kenya National Assurance Company as its Director. KNAC collapsed under his management. It was alleged that KNAC malformed as a result of looting of real estate assets of the parastatal, illegal loans, fraudulent payments and huge debts. These allegations saw the company going into receivership with KSh 1.3 billion in life insurance policies. After the collapse, 900 employees lost their jobs and later claimed they were owed Ksh 66,456,070. Thousands of Kenyans did not receive their insurance payments or their pensions.
During former president Kibaki regime the Ndung’u Commission was constituted to investigate “irregular allocation” or illegal privatization of public lands, settlement schemes, forests and reserves highly witnessed in the just ousted Moi era. In the report released in December 2004, Henry Kosgey was named as the improper recipient of more than 300 acres in South Nandi.
And in the hotly contested 2007 election that spurred violence, Waki named Kosgey among other five in the Commission to Investigate Post Election Violence (CIPEV) report. Kosgey rejected the report and involvement in incitement, planning and funding the violence. He said on 14/10/2014 that “the people in that list were not given a chance to defend themselves. That’s very unfair”, but nonetheless, he was accused and appeared in the International Criminal Court – The Hague, and later cleared.
Since the famous defeat where Kosgey failed to be a senator in 2013, his reappearance into the political scene eying the gubernatorial seat has not been welcoming in Nandi County especially to the professionals and the youth.
Additional Sources; Daily Nation, WikiLeaks
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