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Golf club wins a land case that lasted 17 years

A court has granted a golf club right to control a parcel of land in Murang’a bringing to end a 17-year long protracted land dispute against a horticultural firm.

Environment and Lands Court in Thika granted Makuyu Golf Club rights to control 72 acres of land after winning a case against Kakuzi limited.

Justice Oscar Angote gave a ruling that brought to an end the protracted land dispute that has been pending before Nyeri and Thika courts since 2002.

In the judgement, the judge found that the club existed since colonial era in1934, while the agricultural firm bought parcels of land in 1966 from a sisal firm.

The court established that the golf club acquired title deed of the land by its adverse possession before independence.

The Judge while delivering the judgment on Friday, added that Kakuzi limited formerly Kakuzi Fibreland limited after it acquired the land from Sisal limited did not bother to take possession of the golf course.

The dispute between the two parties emerged when Kakuzi Limited demanded the golf club to be paying fees for using the land and to be notified when there are tournaments to be held on the golf course.

The trustee committee of the golf club during the hearing informed the court that the land was donated by the white settlers in 1934 for use as a golf course.

“The evidence before me, am satisfied that the plaintiff’s use of approximately 72 acres of land as a golf course has been continuous, exclusive and without the permission of the defendant for a period of 12 years,” said the Judge.

He added “the defendant’s title in respect of the said land has therefore been extinguished by effluxion of time.”

The court was told that the club’s building worth millions of shilling was vandalized after the dispute emerged.

The Judge further stated that the land has been used exclusively by the club members, and Kakuzi limited like any other philanthropic member of the society, or as part of its social corporate responsibility mandate.

Kakuzi on its defense had claimed to have assisted in running of the golf course which was challenged by the officials who informed the court they sunk a 300-metre borehole to maintain the ground.

In the affidavit, Kakuzi management claimed to have assisted the club with water from one of their dams and payment of wages to club house watchmen.

The firm also indicated to have assisted the club with tractors, lawn mowers until the service was terminated in March 1996.

The management further claimed in 1966, they were granted a title LR 11674 for a lease term of 941 years.

The ruling was welcomed by trustees of the golf club, led by Stanley Kimani and Joel Wanyoike who said it was a relief after 17 years of court battle.

They said they struggled attending the matter in Nyeri court for 15 years, without any allocation of a hearing date.

The dispute was later transferred to Thika court and Justice Angote assigned to hear the case to determination.

“The nine holes golf club will now be back in action after its operations were interfered with by management of Kakuzi limited. Earlier livestock belonging to Kakuzi could be released when the golfers were playing leading to hundreds to keep off,” said Kimani.

By Bernard Munyao

 

 

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