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BEWARE: Men in the Rift Valley are ‘hiring’ wives to transact multi-million illegal land deals

narok land

Wives for hire have invaded Narok County and are being used to transact multi-million illegal land-deals that have left many families landless in the past few months.

Investigations by The County Weekly have unearthed an intricate land transaction scandal in which cunning Maasai men hire women to act as their wives while secretly selling off family land.

Many families in the county are falling victims to this scandal which sources say was fast spreading into the nearby Kajiado County.

No arrests have been made since the victims do not report to police for fear of revenge attacks from their spouses. Everline Dikirr, a mother of five said she discovered her husband had sold their entire 100-acre farm at Naireki Enkare when a new owner came and evicted her with her five children last year.

She said efforts to follow legal channels were fruitless as minutes from the lands control board showed that I had consented to the sale of the family land yet she had not been informed about it by her husband.

“I was shocked when I went to the Land board to report that my husband had sold family landwithout my consent only to be shown an affidavit filed and bearing my names,” she said.

She said all the time, her husband left home and lived in Narok town without explaining to her what was happening.“I was fighting a losing battle because the affidavit bore my names and I was told to go sort out my issues with my husband who was now not coming home,” she said.

Dejected and no place to live because the new owner gave her notice to leave, Ms Dikirr sought refuge at her cousin’s home, Jackline.

“These women for hire are making life difficult for the real wives. They are given proceeds of the sell and they take up our place and once the transaction goes through, they are paid their fee,” she said.

Another victim, Gladys Enekarbolo from Melili in Mau zone says her husband sold the 20-acre familyland without her consent after presenting a woman to the lands control board as his wife.

New racket

“That is how our family land went and now I have been kicked out of it while my husband left home and I do not know where he is,” said Ms Gladys, a mother of five.

She said she suspected something was amiss when she started seeing people building on part of their parcel of land. “Our culture demands that we do not question our husbands’ decisions and their word is always final,” she explained.

She said she was shocked when the man said he negotiated for the land with the man and a lady he always introduced as his wife. “The man produced documents bearing my name and that of her husband consenting to the sale of the land. I was dumbfounded,” she said. She now resides at Kibangas in Narok with her family members.

Investigations showed that these women were just a fraction of the many women who had lost their family land to the new racket.

Women activists are now challenging the Ministry of Lands to move and investigate the matter and return all the lands fraudulently sold by members of the racket.

They also want the culprits and their fake wivesarrested and charged with fraud. “It is sad that this racket has been going on for a long time without the Government realising it,” said Lucia Teeka, a nominated Member of Narok County Assembly.

Ms Teeka adds that some Maasai women had been turned into paupers after their husbands secretly sold their family land. A big number of women victims of such cases have found their new homes at a rescue centers offered by churches and Non Governmental Organisations.

Archaic traditions

Pauline Kinyarkwo, a women’s rights activist says the Lands Boards were to blame for the scandal because of lack of representation by marginalised groups such as women.

“We have raised these issues but our efforts have been rebuffed,” she told The County Weekly.

Lucy Sadera, the chairperson of Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation told a recent workshop that the community should not complain of being marginalised by other communities because it still practiced archaic traditions that belittled women.

Ms Sadera asked the Lands Commission to help end the land-buying cartels in the county.

“The commission should save the community from being squatters in their own land. It should put ceiling on the size of land one should own because our areas have become slums where people are selling small parcels to maximise on profits,” she added.

The Standard

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