Written by Leonard Wamalwa
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The squatters chairman Fallent Nyongesa speaking to West FM as other officials Charles Opondo and Jacob Pepela look on. They are demanding for Fomer Cabinet Minister Nicholas Biwott to shed light on why they were evicted. [PHOTO | Leonard Wamalwa]
Over 300 squatters who were evicted from Kapsitwet River Estate Ltd farm in Kwanza Constituency of Trans Nzoia County over twenty years ago now want former minister and point man in the retired President Daniel Moi's government to come out and shed light on the matter.
Speaking to West FM in Kitale Town the squatter’s officials led by their chairman Fallent Nyongesa, Charles Opondo and Jacob Pepela they said that Nicholas Biwott is the right person to help them in the matter so that they can eventually be resettled.
They revealed that Biwott had assured them that none of them shall be evicted from the farm when he first set his foot there in June 1979 after taking over from the Settlement Fund Trust famously known as the SFT settlement program that was in charge of the farm after taking over from the white man whom they initially worked for since the 1950s.
They claimed that on June 6, 1978 Biwott addressed them at the farm and assured them that they stay assured that he himself was to ensure that each of them will be allocated a piece of land in the farm as earlier planned under the SFT program.
"We want Hon Nicholas Yator Biwott to come and fulfill the promise that he gave us on June 6, 1978 at 10 AM that he will give us settlement in the farm which to date we have never received the land despite other people from outside benefiting from the land," said Mzee Nyongesa.
They noted that despite the promise, the former Keiyo South Member of Parliament went ahead in 1989 to bring people from other counties including Baringo in the farm to be allocated land as the original squatters who had worked in the farm for over four decades.
The elderly Nyongesa who said had been a Nyapara or manager in the farm since 1950 said the farm had been under the management of three other managers including Major Kisa, Kakuzi and George Baba a white man before Biwott came in as the fourth and last manager who categorically assured them that they will be the sole beneficiaries.
The squatters added that since their forceful eviction from the land in 1991 been leading pathetic lifestyles in abject poverty leading to their children failing to go to school as they struggle to make ends meet in their rented homes as others stay at their relatives since then.
They have threatened to stage peaceful demonstrations within Kitale town to seek attention of the politician whom they feel is the main person to bring up a permanent solution to the matter which they feel despite taking it to court he can enable an out of court settlement if he shows commitment in ending it.
"We are giving Biwott 21 days to come up and clear the air on this matter because he is the person who knows the history of the farm and the squatters he found there, lest we shall soon stage one of the biggest demonstrations in this town to compel him to attend the matter," said Opondo.
Their case that they claimed also comprises former president Daniel Arap Moi, Abraham Tanui, Nicholas Biwott and Joshua Kulei shall be heard on November 21 this year.
The disputed farm is over 4090 acres that part of is inhabited by the outsiders whom the squatters claim were ferried in under the influence of the former head of state Daniel Moi and Biwott.
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