The Kenya Defence Forces training grounds in Samburu will now move to Baragoi in the same county, following a decades-old dispute with residents.
The 3,000 acres were set aside for military training in the 1970s.
In a bid to end the dispute with residents of Lkuroto and Muramur over the land on the outskirts of Maralal town, the county government donated 1,000 acres in Baragoi for the KDF training.
On Monday, the National Assembly’s Defence and Foreign Relations Committee toured the area and met residents and leaders.
The visit followed a petition in the National Assembly by Samburu West MP Lati Leletit asking it to intervene.
The parliamentary team led by the committee vice-chairman, Fafi MP Barre Shill, held long discussions with Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal, County Commissioner Mohammed Birik and a KDF delegation.
Mr Shill was accompanied by MPs Jakoyo Midiwo (Gem), Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini) and Suleiman Murunga (Kimilili), among other local leaders.
Mr Shill said the KDF had agreed to relinquish the land to the community.
Mr Lenolkulal said his government had given KDF 1,000 acres in Baragoi and construction of the training grounds had started.
He, however, said although the land has been surrendered to the community, residents still had no title deeds.
The dispute started after two parcels of land in Muramur were set aside for military training by the Commissioner of Lands in 1976. The parcels were allocated to the Defence ministry through Gazette Notice No. 3210 of November 11, 1977.
However, Muramur residents have been fighting to reclaim the land, saying over the years more than 100,000 people have moved in and built schools and other amenities.
The residents claim they only offered about 30 acres for the training grounds but this was inflated to 3,000.
ARMY OCCUPIED MURAMUR
At a meeting in March between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Maa Parliamentary Group, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery revealed that he headed the army unit that occupied Muramur in the 1980s and that the land was for temporary training.
He told the meeting the army had acquired sufficient land in Isiolo and the Muramur grounds were no longer necessary.
Mr Nkaissery said despite efforts to resolve the dispute, no solution had been found.
Mr Lelelit, who filed the petition in the National Assembly in June, said Lkuroto and Muramur residents have been living in fear of eviction since the early 1980s as they had no land ownership documents.
Mr Midiwo and Mr Wamalwa called on the national government to move with speed and solve land historical injustices in the county.
“Our people all over the country should enjoy living in their own country like free Kenyans, and for this to happen we must start giving them what belongs to them and give them a listening ear when they complain over sensitive issues like land,” Mr Wamalwa said.
According to Governor Lenolkulal, however, although the land has been given back to the community, local are yet to get title deeds as the process had been stopped.
He urged the parliamentary committee to treat the matter as urgent and push the petition fast at the national level so that affected families can have their title deeds.
“The land in question has accommodated this community for very many years before even the army came in to ask for a training ground from this community. It is now 100 per cent occupied, so when they plan to evict owners where do they expect all these families to go to,” he posed.
As reported by Godfrey Oundoh for the Daily Nation