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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Migori governor loses land to church

The Catholic Diocese of Homa-Bay has succeeded in wresting its land, located near Rapogi Mission, which the Migori governor Zachary Obado had grabbed claiming it belonged to Migori county government.
 It was the quick action by the Land ministry which helped matters from boiling into an ugly standoff.The land registrar at Migori Bosire calmed waters when he declared the parcel of land in dispute belonged to the church with another piece, located at Kitere Polytechnic in  Rongo subcounty and another piece of land at Macalder in Nyatike subcounty.
Last week, the governor  had mobilised the county tractors and workers to the land ready to have it ploughed and even destroyed some crops including sugar cane. The governor’s action sparked off violent protests by members of the church and pupils  at a nearby school. The pupils, according to a source poured hot porridge on the governor as another hit him with a sandal.
The registrar Edward Bosire revealed that the land is owned by the church. It was registered as Kanyamkago Katieno location, Kamireri sublocation, Uriri subcounty in Migori county was registered as Katieno No 23  way back in 1948. The parcel was sold to the church by its original three village elders called Olali Abele, Agutu Onyuyo and Gor Oniala and it measures 21.6 hecttares.
This was after the local community had seen the need to introduce agriculture as a subject at St.Joseph Rapogi High School by then  managed by the Catholic diocese of Kisii. All these years, the school has been cultivating it for grains and cane crops. However, in the 1980s some people came from Tanzania claiming the parcel was their property and even forcefully built a home on the piece. This prompted the former principal of Rapogi High School John Pesa together with members of the BOG to move to Kisii High Court and sued the invaders. The judgement was in favour of the school land and its BOG. This resulted in the homes of the invaders being dismantled and pulled down.
The attempt by Governor Obado to grab the church land has elicited a lot of criticism by local community. A Nairobi-based farmer John Otange said while Kenyans appreciate the advent of the devolved system brought by the 2010 constitution, which has paved way for equitable distribution of the national cake to all the regions coupled with economic empowerment of the local human capital, the new county governments should also focus on vision 2030 dream.
Awiti charged that on March 26 Governor Obado without due regard had trespassed on a private piece of land in total defiance of the law of the land. This kind of action cannot be tolerated, especially when act of lawlessness is carried out by the elected persons of the governors’ calibre. Following the governor’s provocative action large members of the church gathered last Sunday and witnessed Fr Nyarombo of Rapogi Catholic church conduct the mass amid high tension in Rapogi and its environ.
In defence, Governor Obado was quoted by a section of the press as saying that the land which housed Kitere Village Polytechnic in Rongo is owned by the county government county because under the new constitution all the village polytechnics are the properties of county governments.
An impeccable  source at Rapogi mission told us that the church is contemplating moving to court to seek legal redress to compel Obado and his county government to pay compensation for the damaged crops which the tractors destroyed as well as fence ridges.
 Obado is among the 12 county governors who were recently mentioned in the graft report and asked to step aside in order to pave way for investigations on allegation of corruption. He is said  in the report Uhuru Kenyatta table in parliament to have misused  about Sh600 million through corruption in irregular procurement but the governor has vehemently denied any wrong doing.