The national government will send surveyors to demarcate the boundary between the Chyulu National Park and Mikululo Ranching Company to find a lasting solution to the conflict that has raged for over 20 years, Makueni County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed has said.
Mohammed said that the surveyors will be sent there, before the end of this week whereby a special force from Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU) will offer security until the survey is completed.
Though the time of demarcating the boundary is not specified, the county commissioner said that the team of surveyors will be coordinated by the Makindu Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) together with other security agencies.
The area to be surveyed has been a conflict zone between the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Mikululo Ranching Company since 1995 and the conflict has erupted on resulting to loss of lives.
“Last week on Thursday we had a meeting with Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i and his counterpart for Lands Farida Karoney, KWS Director General and other members and agreed to send surveyors to identify the true acreage of the land hence find a lasting solution,” said Mohammed while addressing a baraza at Mikululo market on Monday.
Further, the county commissioner directed the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KARLO) to allow residents of Mikululo to continue using the only road that enables them to access other social amenities in Makindu town.
“This is the only main road that Mikululo residents use to access hospitals, market and also supplies from Makindu town. KARLO should leave the gate open always for the residents to pass until amicable solution is found,” he said.
In February 2019, the Environmental and Land court Judge Oscar Angote in Machakos ruled in in favour of Mikululo residents that they are the owners of the 42,813 acres of land in Makindu Division, Makindu Sub County.
Two weeks ago, KARLO closed the road, a situation that led residents to destroy the electric fence and the gate that has created animosity with KARLO.
On eviction, the administrator said the government will not evict the residents as they have no alternative land to settle over 3,000 families with their 10,000 head of cattle besides having goats and sheep.
In this regard, he said the residents will continue to stay until the conflict is resolved and a lasting solution is found to avoid the frequent flare ups that have occurred in the past in the area.
However, he warned the residents against encroaching on the national park saying they should co-exist peacefully with the animals and also respect the KWS rangers as they do their work.
“Do not expand your land into the national park as this is our heritage. You should co-exist peacefully with the KWS and the animals. However, if KWS they want these people moved, offer an alternative land to settle them,” said Mohammed.
Speaking at the same event, Member of County Assembly (MCA) Urbanus Wambua of Wiper party thanked the government for intervening to ensure the conflict was resolved amicably.
By Patrick Nyakundi and Ronald Rono