By Faith Nyambeki
As you struggle to repay a loan you secured from your SACCO to buy a 40 by 60 feet piece of land in Joska, a select few well connected Kenyans and moneyed foreigners own almost half of all arable land in the country. Cronies and the political elites in the late presidents Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi governments were the greatest beneficiaries of land allocations. Whites have not been left out of this equation and the interesting read by Edith Makena Mbwiria titled The aristocratic class that owns huge tracts of land in Kenya bears testimony. So who are some of the largest landowners in Kenya? We start with politicians.
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The founding father of the republic of Kenya Mzee Jomo Kenyatta had an insatiable appetite for land. A report by CIA that was made public in 2017, details the properties owned by Kenyatta by the time of his death in 1978. Part of the report reads:
“…..Kenyatta himself owned only about a half-dozen properties covering roughly 4,000 hectares, mainly farms in the Rift Valley and in the district of Kiambu where he was born. His wife, Mama Ngina Kenyatta, however, owns at least 115,000 hectares including a 13,000 hectare ranch in the Kiambu district, two tea plantations at Matu and Mangu, and three sisal farms near the Tanzanian border.”
During the 2013 presidential election debate, President Uhuru Kenyatta was put to task by co-moderator Joe Ageyo and Narc-Kenya candidate Martha Karua to declare the total acreage owned by the family. He admitted that the family owns 30,000 acres of land in Taita Taveta and had donated 4,000 acres to squatters.
He went on to say that they had acquired the land legally.
“My family and I own land; we’ve not acquired land illegally but through willing buyer-willing seller basis. There is nothing to prove that my family has illegally acquired land.”
Forbes reported that Kenyatta’s own 500,000 acres of prime land in different parts of the country.
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Former President Daniel arap Moi Family
Kenya’s second President the late Daniel arap Moi followed in the footsteps of his predecessor. The land he acquired is as listed below:
Bahati in Nakuru-20,000 acres
Kabarak Farm-1,600 acres
Olenguruoni in Rift Valley-20,000 acres
Ol Pajeta Farm-50,000 acres
Former President Mwai Kibaki
The third president of Kenya was not left behind when it came to acquisition of land. He owns 1,200 acres at Gingalily Farm along the Nakuru-Solai road. When Kibaki was minister for Finance he transfered 10,000 acres to himself via STFS from Bruce Mckenzie, then Agriculture minister.
He owns 10,000 acres at Igwamiti and the same acreage in Rumuruti in Naivasha plus 1,600 acres Ruare Ranch.
He has also 20,000 acres in Nanyuki.
Other prominent personalities
Ogiek.org also list the following as big time landowners in the country:
Late Njenga Karume
Molo-20,000 acres (he grows tea, coffee, potatoes and pyrethrum.
Charles Njonjo-former Attorney General
Mr Isaiah Mathenge-former provisional commissioner in the coastal region. Passed away in 2006.
Seremwai Estate-10,000 acres.
Lukas Daudi Galgalo jointly with Mathenge-10,000 Manyagalo Ranch in Meru.
Former Provincial Commissioner Ishmael Chelang’a owns Chepchomo farm-18,000 acres.
Gitomwa Farm owned by former Kenya Power and Lighting Company Limited (KPLC) former MD Samuel Gichuru-10,000 acres.
The late Mbiyu Koinange who was a powerful minister in president Kenyatta regime owns 10,000 acres in Mau Narok.
Simeon Nyachae through his company Kabansora Holdings own over 10,000 acres.
Former Rongai MP Willy Komen’s family own 10,000 acres adjacent to the late Moi’s Kabarak farm and 4,800ha in Njoro.
Away from Kenyans, we take a look at foreigners who own huge tracts of land in the country.
Kuki Gallman-Italian Baroness and socialite
She owns 100,000 acre land that she bought together with her husband Paolo Gallman in 1974. Kuki turned the property into a reserve-the Ol Ari Nyiro Ranch-in 1984 following the death of her husband in 1980 and her son Emmanuel in 1983.
Alec and Jocelyne Wildenstein
Own the 67,000 acre Ol Jogi Ranch. This is the home of the only bear living in Africa.
Own 45,000 acres of land that was reportedly awarded to Ian Craig’s grandmother in 1918 by the British Government for her services during the First World War.
Late Former Kieni MP Munene Kairo
The late MP owned the 24,000 Samburu-buru ranch. It is now managed by his friends.
Gilfrid Powys own the Borana Ranch that sits on 35,000 acre land. They reportedly also own the 70,000 acre Kisima ranch.
Own a total of four ranches.
He bought 30,000 acres in 2000 where he is building a tourist lodge. The ranch has over 7000 heads of cow.
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