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Wrangles threaten to split group ranches in Narok



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Group ranches in Narok are teetering on the brink of collapse due to incessant leadership wrangles.

There is also political interference and, in some, alleged grabbing of large tracts of land by committee members, leading to protracted court battles.

The ranches, established in the 1960s, also have problems with ownership, since some membership lists have been tampered with, leading to lengthy court cases.

Last week, for instance, an Environment and Land Court stopped demarcation of the Naikarra Group Ranch for a month, until the hearing of a preliminary objection is completed.

Justice Mohamed Kullow stopped any business on the land, including inspection of the register, which began on December 11, and was supposed to continue for two months.

“I order that the status quo be observed and both sides prepare written submissions. The preliminary objection hearing will be on January 31,” the judge said.

The decision came after Mr Musa ole Pere, Mr Francis Ndoinyo and 25 other landowners moved to court to stop the adjudication, saying the committee had not made public crucial details of the process.

Their lawyer, Ms Rose Thiong’o, said the committee did not provide information on the map, acreage and membership of the ranch.

She said there was no public participation despite the processes having starting more than 10 years ago, and that committee members allocated themselves extra shares.

“Legitimate members have been left out, with cases of people from a neighbouring county benefiting and some acreage left out. Committee members intended to dish out some of the land to their cronies and relatives,” Ms Thiong’o said.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney last week expressed concern that 14 other group ranches are entangled in wrangles that have ended up in court.

Governor Samuel Tunai has succeeded in settling some land disputes that have dragged for more than a decade using alternative conflict resolution mechanisms.

He involved the clergy and elders in the negotiations.

While issuing title deeds to members of Leshuta Group Ranch in Narok West last month, Ms Karoney said the ministry hopes to present another 15,000 deeds for 10 group ranches in the region by June.

The common problem in the ranches is the claim of interference in their elections by politicians, land officials and State administrators.