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MP raises concern over grabbing of IDP land

17 March 2014, 13:53 Arap Yego

Bungoma - Mt Elgon MP, John Serut has raised a red flag over what he claims as illegal sale of parcels of land meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from his constituency, who were resettled last year by the government in Trans-Nzoia County.

The legislator claimed that a group of politicians from both Mt Elgon and Saboti Constituency, working in conjunction with a section of members of the former provincial administration, have connived to irregularly dispose off plots of IDP land in Patwaka Farm in Trans-Nzoia West District.

A total of 236 squatters who missed out on land allocation in the controversial Chebyuk Phase 3 scheme in Cheptais District Mt Elgon Sub-County were resettled in the 742-acre farm that was bought by the government at a cost of KES 180 Million. Each family was entitled to a two and half acre plot of land.

Speaking to journalists in Kapsokwony over the weekend, Serut warned that if the irregular sale of the land goes unchecked, it is bound to trigger conflict as the genuine persons resettled in the scheme will be dispossessed off their land.

“It is a sensitive issue and it should be given the attention it deserves by the relevant authorities. With land being an emotive issue among the Sabaot Community, we do not want a situation where our people start arming themselves again like they did in Mt Elgon between 2006-2008 and purport to fight for their land,” said Serut.

He called upon anti-corruption officials to investigate how the clique of influential personalities, who also include a former Mt Elgon MP and number of former civic leaders from both Trans-Nzoia and Bungoma Counties, acquired the parcels of land which they are currently selling.

Independent investigations established that a two and half acre plot at the the farm meant for IDPs goes for KES 500 000 - 600 000 with full knowledge of the Trans-Nzoia County provincial administration, despite a directive by the government that such land should not be sold.

Patrick Chumo, the IDP chairman at the farm confirmed that tension is already rising in the scheme as the planting season approaches, noting that some of the IDPs are currently settled on some of the farms that are set up for sell.

“12 families who are genuine settlers have been asked to vacate their land as the same parcels are on sale. We are asking the government to intervene before the situation turns ugly,” said Chumo.

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