Over 15, 000 people in Ganze Constituency to be rendered landless
Over 200 residents of Bamba Trading Centre on Sunday protested over the selling of 66, 000 acres of Giriama Ranch in Ganze Constituency to a private foreign company at a cost of Sh13 billion.
They claimed that the ranch directors and some local politicians were behind the illegal selling of ancestral land settled by about 15, 000 people to Maktoum Holding Company of Dubai.
Speaking to the press in Bamba, Kilifi County on Sunday, Kenga Fondo, 62, one of the residents said his father was among the residents who started the ranch as a way of protecting the community land.
Mzee Fondo explained that former Chief, Shikeli Karisa, had told them to surrender the land to start a commercial livestock ranching business for a period of 20 years, but the project collapsed due to high rate of illiteracy.
“We still do not understand how the ranch transferred its ownership to a private land owned by Giriama Ranch Company, with some politicians having shares in the ranch at the expense of residents,” he wondered.
Another resident, Johnson Charo said illegal means were used to change the ownership of the 66, 000 acre community land to a private land/Giriama Ranch Company.
“Some of the politicians and businessmen with shares in the controversial land. include former Labour Cabinet Secretary (CS), Kazungu Kambi, former Ganze Member of Parliament (MP) Joseph Kingi, Gonzi Masha, Akram Amran and Samuel Mwangego among others,” Charo lamented.
According to documents presented to the press, Kambi who also lost Kilifi gubernatorial bid on Kadu Asili party, used the Giriama Ranch as a security to acquire a loan of Sh.258 million from Africa Development Bank.
Charo said the land cartels are using chiefs to force locals to accept the sale agreement with locals being promised Sh2 million each.
The Bamba Member of the County Assembly (MCA), Christopher Mwambire said the problems in the controversial ranch begun on 2003 when they stopped a private developer from using it for agribusiness.
“But in 2007, a title deed which was first issued in 1969 disappeared mysteriously with a replacement of a new one belonging to a private company raised panic among the community,” he said.
Mwambire also led residents to present a petition to the area Assistant County Commissioner, Francis Mambo to stop any transaction on the land ownership on behalf of the community.
“We want him to stop any attempt to rob the people of Ganze their right of land that cuts across three wards, since over 15, 000 households will be rendered homeless if the sale is effected,” he added.
The MCA also told Marktum Holdings and Associates that they risked incurring losses if they proceeded to buy Giriama Ranch.
Responding, Kambi distanced himself from the claims, saying the events were politically instigated following the ongoing election petition challenge Governor Amason Kingi’s victory.
“I do not have any shares in the ranch but as per my information, a limited company has an ability to borrow loans and sale its property which the ranch is doing but I am not involved in the ranch saga,” he added.
The Bamba Assistant County Commissioner confirmed that the ranch was disposing the land and the transaction process was at advanced stage.
“The process of disposing the property is at 95 percent complete and the company has all the legal documents to carry the transaction and dispose the property,” he told the press at his office.
He advised the local leaders to unite and seek legal means to settle the dispute if they felt they had genuine reasons for preventing the disposal of land.
By Simon Guruba