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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Court stops planned formation of Mandera land committee

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A Court in Garissa has stooped the planned election of members of Mandera community land management committee.

Mandera residents Abdi Dima Yakub and Abdinor Ibrahim Alio, filed a petition arguing that the formation of the committee will cause inter-clan conflicts.

They urged the court to issue interim conservatory orders restraining all respondents from holding a meeting which was to happen in Lafey town in regard to the community land held by all communities living in Mandera.

They also sought orders from the court restraining the respondents from holding any meeting or dealing in any other way with community land held, utilised or occupied by clans living in Mandera County.

Justice E.C Cherono of Garissa Environment and Land Court on Tuesday issued interim orders restraining all respondents from holding a meeting in which community land committee members were to be elected.

Six respondents listed in the matter included the Cabinet secretaries for Interior and Lands, the north eastern region community land registrar, Mandera county commissioner, Mandera county government and the Attorney-General.

Representatives from the Murule clan, one the four clans residing in Mandera, had planned to elect a committee that would oversee the land affairs of the community.

But the petitioners claimed that the formation of such a committee was an infringement on the rights of the marginalised communities in the county.

In their affidavits, they said allowing the Murule clan to form a community land committee will cause unending conflicts, since all other clans in Mandera occupy huge land with no marked boundaries.

“There have been unending fights between communities due to the unmarked boundaries with the larger communities taking advantage of the marginalised communities,” Mr Yakub said in the affidavit.

He cited a recent conflict between the Garre and the Murule clans over the ownership of Yetho village in Mandera South as an example of a conflict arising from community land ownership in Mandera.

According to the petitioners, both the national and the Mandera county government are trustees for the community land in the county and, therefore, forming committees is contrary to the law.

Mr Yakub said other communities are now living in fear that the Murule clan that planned to create a land committee would eventually have them displaced from their current settlements.

Both argued that the Mandera county government had not been consulted during the formation of a community land committee.

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