Thousands of squatters in Naivasha, Kenya who were evicted from a land that they claim was allocated to them by the former government of President Daniel Moi (deceased) have written to Kenya Commission for Human Rights seeking their intervention after Simon Gicharu , the founder and chairman of Mount Kenya University reportedly bought it through rogue land officials and influential politicians who served in the government of retired president Kenyatta.
In a letter dated 9th June 2023, directed to Kenya Commission of Human Rights, the 3,000 squatters notes that if the situation is not contained , they remain vulnerable and their leaders who have been fighting Mr Gicharu’s atrocity may remain in jail after they were arrested by police while protesting about the latter but they could not afford a cash bail or bond of Sh 200,000 and are now rotting in prison.
‘’We are over 3,000 squatters living in Naivasha,Nakuru county who have lived in 16,000 acres that was allocated to us by former president Daniel Moi given our vulnerable situations.The squatters are drawn from Kenya,Uganda and Tanzania.Few months ago, Simon Gicharu who owns Mount Kenya University with the help of another tycoon Benjamin Kipkulei acting for Uhuru era politicians and rogue police officers used police and arrested some of our members,’’ reads part of the letter
‘’They are still in remand since they could not afford to pay a cash bail or bond that was being asked by the court of Sh 200,000.We kindly ask for your intervention because no one is listening to us and the media has been bribed not to air our grievances.We have been to the Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika office and county commissioner’s office but they seem to be compromised too.We have documents to show that this land is ours,’’ reads the letter further that is copied to the office of the Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.
Last month, the squatters had promised to match to Mount Kenya University campus in Nakuru to show their disappointment with Simon Gicharu for grabbing their land but they claim some leaders were bought off.
Locals who spoke to this publication said they have lived there for decades and in the year 2019,the government set up a local school for 3,000 squatters and promised them part of the land will be subdivided to them since they had no where to go.
Last month , Mr Gicharu who locals says landed last week with the chopper to inspect the eviction and subsequent uprooting of the crops where the houses were burnt.
‘’We have nowhere to go, Simon Gicharu who owns Mount Kenya university claims he bought this land from the government and now wants us out. He is using the police to defeat justice, the media has been compromised, they come to interview us and later get money from Gicharu and never air our grievances,’’ Mary Mwathi, 78, says in a video seen by this publication when the group camped at the office of Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika and Regional commissioner seeking an audience with them over the matter.
Most farmers claim the specific area they have called home is called Ndabibi and Kosovo.
Mr Gicharu has already funded the construction of a police post in the contested land as an effort to deter the squatters from resettling in.
The new development comes just days after Kikuyu Member of parliament Kimani Ichungwah and majority leader in the National assembly questioned how Mount Kenya university has been the only private university in Kenya that has been receiving the highest number of government sponsored students at the expense of other private and public universities.
The outspoken legislator noted that Simon Gicharu who owns the university behaves like a cartel to get higher student placement funded by taxpayers in exchange for bribes.