Six farmers whose land a roads agency admits it encroached on last year to make a public access road have now written to President Uhuru Kenyatta seeking help.
They now want the president to order the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (Kerra) to publicly acknowledge that the 20 feet wide and 200 metres long Kamuiru-Iganjo road cutting across their 12 acres of land in Murang’a County was criminal trespass.
The affected farmers own the parcels of land ref Loc17/Iganjo/2204, 871, 1870, 1826, 2205 and 4020.
The records at Murang’a lands registry shows the parcels are owned by Julius Kihato, Nahashon Ndung’u, Naomi Wanjiku, Esbon Mucheru, Habel Karanja and James Irungu.
Through their spokesman Mr Karanja, they requested the president, in a letter dated April 25 and sent through County Commissioner Mohammed Barre, to direct Kerra to use the survey map for area lands and open the public access road “well known where it cuts through.”
By ignoring the area map, they say, a perception in their neighbours’ minds cropped that the lands measuring a joint 13 acres are public utility lands.
“That is why they forcefully displaced us and some of us are being housed by good samaritans after our houses were demolished,” they say in the letter.
They say that efforts to seek assistance from Kerra, National Government Administration Officers (NGAO), as well as the National Police Service (NPS), have been futile.
The Kerra engineer, who authorised the reschedule of the public road into the private land, Mr Shadrack Muoki, told Nation that the petitioners need to hold a public forum in the village and come up with a resolution to demolish the new road.
He said Kerra cannot buy off the road from the farmers since “we do not have such a fund to utilize.”
“The road was rerouted without written agreements between Kerra and the farmers since there was some memorandum signed by a majority of the villagers that the road be rescheduled,” he said.
Mr Muoki said Kerra is willing to keep the private land and facilitate the removal of the offending gravel and also upgrade the abandoned road.
But the six affected farmers say the only way out of the matter was to sue the authority.
“Your Excellency, we are aware that we are supposed to sue Kerra so that we can pray for our recognition as the rightful owners of the above-cited parcels of land and the access road be ruled as illegal and a possible rule that we be compensated. But such litigation demands money to file and recruit a lawyer to represent us. We cannot afford such an expenditure,” they pleaded.
They say that the letter was their last resort in the matter.
Among the displaced is a 100-year-old woman who has lived on that land for the past 80 years.
They now also want the president to direct the area security officers to provide them with security to return to their land.
Central Region Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga told Nation he was aware of the issue and has directed Mr Barre to deal with it conclusively.