A dramatic incident occurred when surveyors from the Murang’a County government were forcefully expelled from a section of land owned by Delmonte Kenya Limited (DKL). The surveyors, tasked with assessing a 1,400-acre plot of land that Delmonte had surrendered to the county government, were met with opposition from angry members of the Kandara Residents Association. These residents obstructed the access road by blocking it with stones and logs, preventing the county officials from reaching the land. The residents objected to the demarcation of the land until they received their fair share of the disputed parcel, as mandated by the National Land Commission (NLC) to rectify historical injustices suffered by their forefathers.
The surveyors’ main objective was to survey 100 acres of land designated for the construction of the Kenol Level Five Hospital. Additionally, the land was intended for the development of an industrial zone, a regional wholesale market, a university, and colleges, among other projects. However, the irate residents insisted that the ongoing dispute between their association and the county government must be resolved in the High Court before any further action takes place. They accused Governor Irungu Kang’ata of proceeding with the project despite the pending court proceedings.
Led by Patrick Karau, a resident of Nguthuru, the locals vowed to continue resisting until they received their share of the land as directed by the NLC. While the residents expressed their support for the project, they requested assistance from the government in resolving their land-related issues. Geoffrey Kairu, the leader of the residents’ association, emphasized the need for reconciliation between the residents and the county government.
According to the resolution made by Parliament and the NLC, the county was supposed to receive 30 percent of the land while the Kandara Residents Association would be allocated 70 percent. Governor Kang’ata, when contacted for comment, acknowledged the court proceedings and appealed to the residents to allow the transfer of Keneth Matiba Hospital to Makeji, utilizing only three acres of the disputed land. He stressed the necessity of commencing the hospital’s construction to benefit the people of Kandara, while expressing his inability to allocate land due to the ongoing legal process. The governor recognized the residents’ right to protest but also emphasized the importance of government services, including the hospital, for the local community.