When President Uhuru Kenyatta disbanded Kihiu Mwiri Farmers Company in 2015 after the battle for control turned bloody, shareholders’ hopes of getting title deeds were revived.
Soon after, the president visited the area and ordered that shareholders be given title deeds.
Four years down the line, most shareholders are disillusioned. They say the process was marred with fraud.
Some shareholders are accusing the Government of hoodwinking them, claiming that 12,000 of them are yet to get title deeds.
Kihiu Mwiri Residents Association chairman Harun Njoroge says of the 15,000 title deeds only 3,000 were given after the president launched their issuance.
He says the president was misled by Government officials and area administration to believe that the title deeds issue had been settled. “Today, theft of shareholders’ land is going on and we have no one to air our grievances since our company was de-registered by an executive order. Powerful forces comprising senior Government officers, politicians and businessmen continue to grab land from this scheme,” he says.
He says the 3,000 titles were issued to 156 shareholders who owned multiple plots and had the cash to pay the Sh85,000 per plot that was being demanded by Government agents and brokers as survey, visits and titling fees.
He says the President was misled to believe that Kihiu Mwiri land was 1,269 acres “while the pioneers of this company had in 2009 declared our total land as 5,804 acres”.
He says the company owned land in Murang’a, Machakos and Kiambu counties “but the presidential titling programme only centred on some of our land in Murang’a”.
Njoroge says inquiries from the Ministry of Lands directed them to collect their title deeds from Lands offices in Murang’a.
Murang’a Lands office confirmed to Home & Away that it has only 300 uncollected titles, adding that the Kihiu Mwiri titles were being processed and distributed by Nairobi.
The double tragedy in their plight is that even the families that lost their loved ones in the fight for control of the company have not received justice.
Four directors were murdered and tens of other people disappeared without trace.
Josphat Kibe Nyoike and Zakary Chege Kiratu were murdered on July 7, 2015; Paul Muhuhi Bernard on July 28, 2015; and Peter Kimani Kuria on May 10, 2016.
All the 18 suspects arrested in connection with the murders were acquitted in July by Justice Joel Ngugi who railed at the prosecution for bringing to the court “hopelessly weak cases”.
The collapsed case has seen Directorate of Criminal Investigations head George Kinoti vowing to conduct a fresh probe with a view to reviving the case.