Moi University wins suit to build Bomet campus in row with Ruto

Bomet governor Isaac Ruto at a past media briefing. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Bomet governor Isaac Ruto at a past media briefing. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

The Bomet county government has suffered a setback after the Court of Appeal allowed the construction of the controversial Moi University campus in Bomet town.

Governor Isaac Ruto has been pushing to have the 10-acre land used as a solid waste dumping site.

Appeals court judges GBM Kariuki, Fatuma Sichale and Sankale ole Kantai, allowed an application by the university, which sought to strike out the appeal on claims that it had been filed out of the required period.

While delivering the judgment, Lady Justice Sichale said: “The court finds that the appeal by the Bomet County government was filed past the time required by law. It is, therefore, struck out and costs will be incurred by Moi University.”

The judgement ends a two-year battle between the two public institutions after Justice Martin Muya last year ruled that the facility, a constituent college of Moi University, be built on the 10-acre parcel of land.

The county had in April last year moved to court seeking to quash the decision by the High Court, claiming that it had hampered garbage collection in Silibwet, Tenwek, Kapkwen and Bomet towns.

Through its lawyer Steve Biko, the county argued that the land had been set aside for a dumpsite and a stadium.

Moi University, however, made an application on November 11 seeking to strike out the appeal.

Through its lawyer, the university claimed that Bomet had delayed filing the appeal.

National Assembly deputy speaker and Bomet gubernatorial candidate Joyce Laboso, was defective also a party in the case, had also made a similar application on December 10.

Dr Laboso, through her lawyer Karanja Mbugua, argued that the appeal was rendered defective after it was served after 15 days, a day past the required 14 days.

Mr Biko had dismissed the application was defective and ought to be dismissed after it was filed past the required 30 days.

The dispute has been at the centre of a bitter relationship between the national government and Bomet governor after President Uhuru Kenyata and his deputy William Ruto accused the county boss of hindering development in the region.

Talks to settle the standoff out of the court collapsed when President Kenyatta laid foundation for the construction of university campus on the disputed land in Bomet on December 13 — a day after the Court of Appeal issued an injunction restraining the university from proceeding with construction.

Mr Ruto argued that at the plot sits multi-million stadium under construction, which was equally importanf to Bomet residents. He further said the construction of the campus had resulted in relocation of a public dumpsite.

The ruling is considered a win for the deputy National Assembly Speaker, who will be facing off with the incumbent, Mr Ruto of Chama cha Mashinani, in the August 8 polls on a Jubilee party ticket.