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Standoff as police cancel political rally citing security reasons

Ukambani leaders had a day-long standoff on Sunday with the security forces in Taveta Sub- County after a public rally they were to address was cancelled at the eleventh hour.

Leaders led by the Makueni Governor, Kivutha Kibwana claimed they were on a mercy mission for residents of Njukini who were recently evicted from a disputed land in Sir Ramson settlement scheme.

It however emerged from a recent meeting that the squatters had encroached on land outside Sir Ramson farm hence the eviction.

According to the Taveta Sub-County security committee team, the rally that was to take place at Njukini trading centre was also to be addressed by Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior, former Machakos Senator, Johnstone Muthama and former Kibwezi MP, Kalembe Ndile among other Wiper Party leaders.

Confirming the incident, Taveta acting OCPD, Joel Chesire said the meeting was cancelled because the leaders did not notify the police on time.

“We could not allow the Ukambani leaders to hold the meeting because they had no permit to do so. We cancelled the political rally due to security reasons,” said the police officer.

Chesire said that calm had returned to the troubled area which turned into a battle field, between the residents and the police at the beginning of this year and allowing the leaders to address a meeting at the place would be incitement.

There was a heavy presence of security personnel in Njukini who had blocked the road leading to the venue of the said meeting.

“These leaders wanted to hijack the good intention of a team from the Royal Media Services (RMS) among them reporters from Musyi FM who had planned to distribute food to wananchi of Sir Ramson that have been affected by rains in the recent past and we cannot allow them to disturb the peace they are now enjoying,” said Chesire.

A Taveta parliamentary loser Moris Mutiso claimed that the RMS media team was blocked at the border between the County and the neighbouring Kajiado County.

Mutiso said the team was going to donate relief supplies under its corporate social responsibility, but when it was two kilometres away from Njukini town, they were blocked by a contingent of police officers.

He said the press team was to attend a church service at the Sir Ramson AIC Church, first before distributing relief supplies to the evicted victims.

The controversial 2,300 acre Sir Ramson farm was donated by the Kenyatta family in 2013, but squatters preferred land adjudication as opposed to the creation of Ziwani Settlement Scheme. This land had of late been an epicenter of conflict between squatters, police and surveyors.

Meanwhile, the Challa Njukini Ward Representative, Daniel Omar Nguzo supported the security’s action, saying that residents had agreed to work with the land office to resolve the land problem once and for all.

Omar noted that the farmers had already picked their representatives who are to work with officials from the land office and the office of the area Deputy County Commissioner to identify genuine squatters as of late suspicious land grabbing cartels had been eyeing the settlement scheme.

By  Fatuma Jumeah

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