KANU-ODM showdown looms over land row in Kajiado

Two giant political parties are poised for a showdown over a disputed one-acre piece of land in Kajiado town.

Kajiado Star has learnt that plans are underway for the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to refurbish their Kajiado-based office, as part of its rebranding drive ahead of the anticipated referendum, and the coming general election.

The office has remained largely desolate since July 2017, when it was set on fire by unknown arsonist, for what the party through its Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen described then as “the doing of our political opponents who are yet to come to terms with their rejection by the Maasai community.”

However, it has now emerged that the said office lies in a disputed piece of land, that the Independence party Kanu currently led by Baringo Senator Gideon Moi claims ownership.

Owing to the smouldering row pitting the two parties, the office was branded “Kanu Fresh” by its youth delegation in May 2019, but unknown people painted the whole house white the same night.

According to Kanu’s National Youth Chairman Charles Lemein, the office remains a bona fide property of the Independence party, and has been in use since the time of former party leaders, among them; the late Prof George Saitoti (vice party leader) and the late Maj-Gen (rtd) Joseph Nkaiserry.

Nkaiserry became the first party Deputy Secretary General in 2005, but later defected to ODM in 2007.

“What the ODM politicians are supposing, is that the office ceased being a Kanu property since its holder (Nkaiserry) defected to their party in 2007”, said Lemein, adding that, “lucky enough, they never got access to the land documents.”

He revealed that a budget has been allocated for the reconstruction of the building.

A section of ODM lawmakers, who attended a recent meeting with top party officials — Secretary General Edwin Sifuna and Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen — at the Chungwa House in Nairobi, told this publication that the matter was discussed at the meeting, and that plans to reclaim the piece of land are in high gear.

Kitengela Ward Representative Paul Matuyia, told Kajiado Star, that: “The party is planning to reconstruct the building, and to fence the land,” whose rates, he said, the party has been paying.

The lawmaker alleged that the party has been having “slight challenges” with the lands’ documents, a matter he said has been compounded by fact that the County Lands Executive is a Kanu member.

“You cannot run out of facts, that the man in charge of Lands is a Kanu member,” the vocal lawmaker said.

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