West Pokot Commissioner fires chief involved in land grabbing saga

West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello and Governor John Lonyangapuo during a security meeting at Katikomor in Kapenguria constituency

West Pokot County commissioner Apollo Okello has interdicted a sub chief in West Pokot County after he colluded with his two brothers to grab 3000 acres of Kanyarkwat group ranch land which has resulted in the death of one person after land row erupted in the area.

The County commissioner also suspended  the Kanyarkwat division assistant County commissioner citing that he has absconded his duties and failed to maintain order in the area since he is always absent from his area of work after he was posted.

This comes after relatives to the Katikomor sub location chief Peter Lowasikou ambushed a family of Longiro Lwokwasit at Katuyunwo village on Wednesday evening last week and attacked him, leading to his death.

Mr Longiro, 26 years old, who was together with his three brothers were attacked by a group of ten armed men who were baying for their blood as they claimed they were settling on their 3000 acres parcel of land illegally.

The County commissioner Mr Okello said the poisonous arrow the perpetrators used penetrated through the deceased’s left lower ribs and he bled to death.

“The deceased was trying to run away from the attackers but unfortunately he was shot 100 meters away from his house. We have visited the scene of crime and recovered the body which has been taken to Kapenguria referral hospital mortuary awaiting a post mortem and one arrow has also been recovered,” he said.

He said he had to fire the sub chief after public outcry and he also colluded with his brothers to grab a 1000 acre piece of land and evicted forcefully locals who have been living in the area for over a decade.

Apollo noted that the chief went ahead and acquired a title deed from the Kapenguria land office through dubious means hence asked the Ministry of Lands to revoke the title deed until the land wrangles in the area are solved.

Okello who was irritated with his junior security staffs said he can not entertain such officers who don’t want to execute their mandates accordingly and dismissing them from service will be a relief to locals because the officers were misusing their powers.

Apollo tasked the area chief to take charge of Katkomor sub location as the government looks for a responsible assistant chief to replace the axed chief Lowasikou.

He said the fired sub chief, his two brothers and the murderers will be arrested and charged for murder and violating the law hence asked those possessing illegal weapons to surrender before they are disarmed.

The area Governor John Lonyangapuo said the three brothers had grabbed schools, markets and other projects that were built on the 3000 acre piece of land by the County government which cost close to Kshs 60 million.

“I support the dismissal of the two government officers let them be taken to court to serve as an example to the rest. Reluctant police officers should also face the axe,” said Lonyangapuo.

He said the title deed is named under Lomangiro Investment Limited which they acquired in 2018 and he asked the land office to revoke it for further investigation.

Locals from the area said the assistant chief uses threats to evict people from the farm and they live in fear.

The deceased’s father said he was saddened by the demise of his son and urged the killers to take a bold step and ask for forgiveness before he performs rituals to wipe out the entire family.

The leaders were speaking at Katikomor area during a security meeting to ease increasing tension after over five deaths have been reported in the past in connection to the land dispute.

The assistant chief and his two brothers failed to attend the security meeting that was being held in his sub location and locals and police officers have launched a man haunt for the suspected killers who went into hiding after incident.