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THE HISTORICAL INJUSTICES & LAND CLAIMS OF THE NANDI COMMUNITY DURING THE PRE & POST INDEPENDENCE ERA IN KENYA: THE CASE FOR THE TANZANIAN NANDI RETURNEES

PRESENTED TO THE TRUTH JUSTICE & RECONCILIATION COMMISSION SEATING AT ELDORET ON THE 3RD OCTOBER 2011, BY CENTER FOR COMMUNITY DIALOGUE & DEVELOPMENT, TIMUR SELF HELP GROUP, THROUGH THEIR LEGAL COUNSELS;
KORIR SINGO’EI AND GILBERT SAINA

INTRODUCTION

The above mentioned citizens of the Republic of Kenya, temporarily resident in Tanzania between the years 1953 and 1991, or thereabout, wish to bring to the attention of to the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, this memorandum in respect to historical injustices visited upon the Nandi community during the pre colonial and post independence era in Kenya.

BACK GROUND

The genesis of the problems facing the Nandi community during the colonial era started way-back in the early and mid 1950,s when the District Commissioner, Nandi District in conjunction with the Governor of the British territory of Tanganyika facilitated the immigration and settlement of Kenyans(mainly from the Nandi community) in the Mara area in Tanganyika.

Among the administrators who facilitated and took part in the emigration processes were;

  • The then colonial District Commissioner, Nandi District, Sir G.CM DOWSON.
  • Chief Arap Katonon,
  • Chief Elijah Arap Rugut,
  • Chief Kiprop Arap Titi,
  • Chief Joel Arap Malel,
  • Chief Arap Korir and three other Chief’s.

That these colonial administrators handed over the emigrants to the trust authorities of Tanganyika namely;

  • The District Commissioner of Musoma, Mara province
  • The Chief of Isenye,
  • Chief Lotiginga of Nata,
  • Chief Simon of Ngurime,
  • Chief Nyeocha of Igoma,

MIGRATION

Close to 200 families, or thereabout, were forced by the colonial administration to migrate from their prime lands in parts of Nandi to moderate and tsetse fly infested settlements in Musoma and Serengeti districts in Northern Tanzania.
They left with their herds of cattle joined by other community and family members, and took the long trek through Kisii, South Nyanza and eventually into Tanzania. The journey took as long as one month on foot.
They had been given immigration papers by the Nandi District Commissioner, Sir Dowson and  were only allowed to bring with them 20 heads of cattle per family, which number was presumed to be enough to cater for their subsistence, both while travelling to , and also to assist them to begin livelihood while in Tanganyika.
Records from the Kenya National Archives reveal that these people settled around Ushashi area and the Nata/Ikoma settlement area.

They lived in Tanganyika up to and until after the country attained independence in 1961 but they were not allowed to participate in any civic process such as voting nor contesting for any political seat.
Their children were not allowed to carry on with studies beyond the elementary levels.
Their stay was peaceful although they were not granted citizenship status and in 1991 they were ordered by the then government to move back to their native country-Kenya.
They were not allowed to move with any material wealth since it was considered to be wealth dully acquired and accumulated from the soils and riches of the Tanganyika country.
They lost most of their valuables including cattle, and were transported back to Kenya where they were received by the District Commissioner, Nandi District in 1991. At the time they were temporarily settled at Kamoiywo location and Kapkangani location within Nandi District.

RETURN TO KENYA
Upon their return to Kenya, most of the families had nowhere to settle, nor did they have the financial capacity to acquire land. Most of what they considered to be their indigenous community land had been converted to large tracts of commercial land growing sugar or tea plantations. Most of the land that formed part of their communal land now belonged to Companies, state corporations and individuals.
They were now left to become casual laborers in these farms, an issue that was their cause for moving out, in the first instance, during the colonial era.
They have since sought the intervention of the government, to have their pleas for proper settlement attended to, but their cries have so far not been heard.
They now live as squatters and landless people, with no stable means of seeking a living, most of them did not acquire any proper and or formal education, and hence they do not qualify to be employed, even in the tea estates or sugar plantations and factories, save for doing only menial jobs.

They claim that their native settlements prior to their unfortunate alienation comprised of the following areas;

  • The Northern part occupied by the railway from Chichilo, presently FORT TENAN area
  • Chemarus presently SOBA RIVER,
  • Leketet, presently KORU area,
  • Koisos, presently TAMU area,
  • Songhor, presently SONGHOR area,
  • Kipsamoo, presently ODUO area,
  • Morongio, presently MUHORONI area,
  • Kimatkei, presently CHEMELIL area,
  • Kipsegetet, presently MAKINDU,NGENY,OBUOR area,
  • Cheribo,currently MIWANI area,
  • Kibigorr, currently KIBIGORI area,
  • Kipelek, currently KIBOS area,
  • Kipranga currently MAMBOLEO,
  • Kimwani area presently in occupation by Agricultural Development Cooperation
  • Nandi Hills, presently occupied by various tea estate companies.
  • Tibingot area, forming part of the land formally in occupation by the East Africa Tanning Extract Company.

Most of these areas stated above are supported by the colonial historical map of the Nandi country during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

POSSIBLE LEGAL & ADMINISTRATIVE INTERVENTIONS

The community above mentioned would like to bring to the attention of the Commission, their grievances as above mentioned and would like to propose possible interventions as hereunder;

  • Providing them with alternative land for settlement.
  • Assistance to get compensation from the Tanzanian Government over loss of their property, while staying in Tanzania.
  • Providing citizenship for those yet to be registered as citizens following their return from Tanzania.
  • Recognition of their ancestral Land and reparation.