Landowners in Naivasha are living in fear following an increase in land invasions in the Ndabibi area by squatters who allegedly hail from Njoro.
Criminal gangs have invaded private land and allocated themselves plots, planting crops on the properties illegally. Some have gone ahead to lease out the grabbed land to third parties.
The situation has left landowners on edge, with reports indicating that even high-ranking government officials like former President Daniel Arap Moi’s administration’s Mr Benjamin Kipkulei have been affected.
Mr Kipkulei’s property has been the target of perennial invasions despite efforts by law enforcers to keep the invaders at bay.
The invasions seem to be well-coordinated, with some sources claiming that land-grabbing cartels are making millions by leasing land belonging to individuals to unsuspecting farmers.
The agricultural potential of land in the area, which provides bumper harvests, is driving the encroachment.
To address the situation, Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua warned the gangs that they would be arrested and prosecuted.
“Our message is very clear; it is either you produce authentic papers proving ownership or leave,” the administrator stated.
Meanwhile, former Governor Lee Kinyanjui had embarked on a verification process in 2021 aimed at establishing the real owners of the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) land in Ndabibi.
The audit, whose outcome is yet to be made public, aimed to bring an end to protracted land disputes that had dogged the allocation process for more than two decades.
The devolved unit called for the submission of relevant documents to facilitate the issuance of title deeds, including copies of sale or purchase agreements, national identity cards, receipts for payments, and any other related documents.
Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua has assured genuine landowners that their properties would be protected, urging anyone who has rented a farm to produce a lease agreement. “We cannot allow the rule of the jungle to reign supreme,” he warned.