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KU, villagers clash over 100-acre land

A tussle between Kamae residents and Kenyatta University is the latest in a spate of land disputes in the country.

Kamae villagers on Friday protested against what they said were plans by the university to evict them from a place they have lived for decades.

But according the university, the villagers are occupying over 100 acres of its land illegally.

The protesters numbering about 100 took to the Kiambu by-pass threatening violence should the institution take the land which they claim they were given by President Jomo Kenyatta.

Kenyatta University Vice-Chancellor Olive Mugenda said the villagers should leave immediately.

“The land was given to the school by President Kenyatta in the 1960s and a lease awarded for 99 years in 1977. In the early 1980s, the University Council gave 30.8 acres to 672 landless families,” she said.

She added that some squatters kept encroaching on the institution’s land and now occupy about 130 acres.

STUDENTS’ THREAT

“We have been dealing with this issue in court for 20 years,” the VC said.

National Land Commission Vice-Chairperson Abigael Mukolwe said they had already held a meeting with Kamae residents.

“They told us that President Daniel Moi allocated them an extra 70 acres in the 1980s,” she said.

But even as the university administration pursues legal channels to get the land, three student leaders have vowed to evict the squatters by next Friday.

KU Students Union President George Thuku said matters were moving slowly.

“The grabbers must go if there is to be peace. We give the lands officials seven days to evict these people, failure to which we will do it ourselves,” he said.

The Vice-Chancellor distanced the university from the students’ threats.

“We believe the government will handle this matter without any interference,” Prof Mugenda said.