Counties

Residents fight land transfer to economic zone

Richard Ogendo

Kenya Sugarcane Growers Association Secretary-General Richard Ogendo at West Kenya's Miwani weighbridge. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Kenya Sugarcane Growers Association (Kesga) secretary-general Richard Ogendo said the move is fraudulent and an attempt to steal from public coffers.
  • The meeting of stakeholders comprising farmers, workers and local leaders from the troubled miller challenged the alleged ownership of 3,000 acres by Crossley Holdings Limited.
  • Referring to the NLC document dated February 25, NLC chair Gershom Otachi issued a notice of the intention to acquire the land to give room for the project expected to boost the economy of western Kenya

A section of Miwani Sugar Company stakeholders has opposed a move by the government to acquire 3,000 acres for the establishment of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

The meeting convened by the National Land Commission (NLC) at the company premises, termed “illegal” plans to buy off the land from a private investor.

Kenya Sugarcane Growers Association (Kesga) secretary-general Richard Ogendo said the move is fraudulent and an attempt to steal from public coffers.

“We cannot have a situation where officials in government collude to purportedly buy a land held in trust for the people. It is extremely ridiculous that a company can come from nowhere and claim part of the expansive Miwani nucleus land,” he said.

The meeting of stakeholders comprising farmers, workers and local leaders from the troubled miller challenged the alleged ownership of 3,000 acres by Crossley Holdings Limited.

Referring to the NLC document dated February 25, NLC chair Gershom Otachi issued a notice of the intention to acquire the land to give room for the project expected to boost the economy of western Kenya.

“In pursuance of the Land Act, 2012 Part VIII, The National Land Commission on behalf of Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development gives notice that the national government intends to acquire the land for the Miwani SEZ,” said the document.

Terming the matter as prejudice, Miwani Sugar Company lawyer David Otieno said the move by the commission was fraudulent and an attempt to steal from public coffers.

“It is shocking that while the case is yet to be determined, the commission has gone ahead to issue a notice of their intention to acquire the land,” he said earlier.

According to the gazette notice number 2052, the NLC has indicated that Crossley Holdings Limited is the registered owner of the controversial land whose case has been dragging in court since 2007.

Miwani receiver Manager Francis Ooko, however, called on the government to urgently dispense with the case to rekindle revival plans of the miller that has been in receivership since 2001.

“We should not let the multibillion project lay idle while thousands of people who depend on sugarcane farming suffer at the behest of a few individuals who are only interested in their selfish interest,” he said.

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