Politics and policy
Butcher’s son who took on Moi and won
Posted Sunday, August 12 2012 at 17:39
Malcolm Bell, the Nakuru farmer who made history last week as the first man to win an appeals court case against former President Daniel arap Moi, comes across as a friendly host.
He greets visitors with a firm handshake and a keen stare before he ushers them into the farmhouse set on a hilly section of his expansive Kabarak farm.
Behind the friendly chat, however, is a strong fighting spirit that saw him pursue what many would have considered a lost cause — wrestling a 100-acre piece of land from the former president.
Despite suffering a setback in the High Court six years ago when judge Muga Apondi gave the land to Mr Moi and his Kabarak High School through adverse possession, Mr Bell’s resolve paid off when the Court of Appeal ordered Mr Moi to vacate the land.
Mr Bell told the Business Daily he had been hurting from within since the 1980s when Mr Moi took the parcel from his father, Ginger, and failed to honour what was a gentleman’s agreement.
Under the arrangement, Mr Moi was to help the Bell family connect their farm with electricity, build a cattle dip and sink a bore hole at their 1,200-acre farm adjacent to Moi High School Kabarak.
When Ginger died in 1997, the junior Bell took it upon himself to reclaim part of the family heritage. He says he had to bide his time because President Moi was in power.
Mr Moi enjoyed immunity as the head of state and the land was always under the guard of General Service Unit officers.
Negotiations, he said, had been abandoned because they mostly ended with threats of deportation.
Mr Bell, however, said he is not a white settler, having been born in Mombasa.
“I was born in Mombasa at Mama Ngina Drive to Mr and Mrs Ginger Bell,” he said.
His father ran a butchery at the Coast while his mother was born and brought up in Rongai area in 1925.
He and his mother later moved back to Rongai while his father remained in Mombasa to manage the butchery.
“I attended Nakuru Primary which is currently Nakuru Boys High School. My grandfather and mother are buried at the Nakuru North Cemetery while my dad is buried on this farm,” he said.
He later joined Duke of York School in Nairobi, now Lenana School, for secondary education before going to Europe to study Agricultural Engineering. When Moi retired in 2003, Mr Bell started court proceedings, accusing the former President of trespassing on his land.