Shareholders of the controversial Embakasi Ranching Company are optimistic that it will still be wound up and title deeds issued by August despite the death of its long-serving chairman.
Samuel Mwangi Thuita passed on while undergoing treatment at a Ruai health facility on June 30 and buried last Saturday in his Kirinyaga County home.
Only 121 parcels of land have been cleared for titling, with more than 200 others embroiled in court cases complicating titling.
Mr Thuita was in a protracted battle with State House operatives who had been assigned by the President the task of shepherding the winding up of the ranch initially anticipated to happen by February 1, 2018.
“But there has been a silent war between those officers and Mr Thuita. While State House had directed that all rates applicable for the issuance of title deeds be zero-rated, the chairman was insisting that the ranch is a private entity with its own terms of reference outside the control of government,” says Joseph Njenga, spokesman of the Ruai Shareholders Welfare Group.
“He had imposed millions in fees on shareholder in order to let go the ranch,” Mr Njenga said.
Mr Njenga says the chairman was introducing roadblocks at every turn to a point President Uhuru Kenyatta rescheduled issuing title deeds three times.
“It was after the President was advised that dissolving the ranch was a near impossibility that on May 31, 2018 while on an official tour at Jacaranda Grounds he gave the chairman a three-month ultimatum to let go the ranch,” he said.
Immediately the ultimatum was issued, Mr Njenga said, directors campaigned to convene a special annual general meeting that would have renewed the term of the board for one more year, jeopardising the deadline.
“We are now optimistic that the shenanigans that have been curtailing correction of the mess that has dogged us for many years will now be addressed once and for all,” the spokesman said.
New chairman Kigera Waireri said at the burial of Mr Thuita that he would co-operate.
Land ministry spokesman Joseph Kamuto said the troubled ranch will be dissolved as a matter of urgency.