With a little over a month to the August 8 elections, debate on the irregular allocation of land in South Ngariama, Mwea Constituency, is taking ground to the detriment of Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua.
The locals are accusing Ms Karua of irregularly allocating huge chunks of land to her family, political allies and close confidants, leaving hundreds of locals as squatters.
The subdivision and allocation of the 28,000-acre land, previously held under Trust by the defunct County Council of Kirinyaga, was marred by favouritism and corruption with local leaders benefiting from the process.
South Ngariama land
Ms Karua, who is now running for Kirinyaga governorship seat, reportedly used her influence to ensure her father was allocated 10 acres (parcel No 68) while her brother got 12 acres (parcel No 12) which he has since sold for millions of shillings.
Karua’s sister was reportedly allocated three acres (parcel No 4193) which she later sold to one Mr Wachira.
The company that was single-sourced to handle the demarcation of the land is allegedly owned by Karua’s running mate Joseph Gitari – the outgoing MP for Kirinyaga Central.
However, speaking before the House Committee on Land and Natural Resources in 2010, Karua rubbished concerns by locals that the process of land allocation was marred by favouritism, insisting that the process was above par.
“The subdivision was done by clan elders and took in the landless from Gichugu, Ndia, Kirinyaga Central and Mwea Constituencies. The process was transparent and fair,” she said.
‘6,000 title deeds’
The locals are now demanding action on anyone who was irregularly allocated land in the area and fresh audit of the process.
And to ensure an end to the stand-off, Jubilee candidate for the Kirinyaga governorship seat Anne Waiguru has promised to issue 6,000 title deeds to squatters living in South Ngariama and resolve the longstanding dispute when she takes office.
Ms Karua is also accused of receiving Ksh7.5 million from the British America Tobacco (BAT) in the run-up to the 2013 elections to help protect the firm’s commercial interests.
In her defence, Karua has stated that she only received Ksh2 million from one Paul Hopkins, affiliated to BAT, as a personal donation to the campaign.