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Former councilor charged with attempted murder over a land dispute

A former councillor has been arraigned in Narok Court for allegedly attempting to murder a 25-year-old man over a land dispute.

Mpatinga Ole Kamoye, 53, appeared before Narok Senior Resident Magistrate Phylis Shinyada and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

According to court documents, on April 15, 2023, Kamoye and his son Penori Kamoye, 35, allegedly arrived at the Olashapani area in Ololunga location, Narok County, where the victim, Sointanae Tipango, and his brothers were erecting a cow shed.

Without warning, the pair, armed with two pistols and a shotgun, opened fire on Tipango and his kin, forcing them to scamper for safety.

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The documents further state that Tipango was shot in the lower abdomen during the commotion, and efforts by his family to retrieve him were met with additional gunshots from the suspects. Village elders intervened and rushed the victim to a local hospital, where he remains in critical condition.

Kamoye reportedly surrendered himself at the Ololulunga police station, where he was disarmed and placed into custody while his son is still at large.

Kamoye’s lawyer requested the court release him on bond, but Shinyada denied the request, since the suspect has been arrested and charged with misusing his firearm four times.

The prosecution team has also questioned whether Kamoye has a valid firearm licence. Mention of Kamoye’s initial firearm licence revocation will be heard on Wednesday, and he will remain at Narok Town Prison till then.

Land disputes are a major issue in Kenya, with conflicts arising from the scarcity of land and the rapid growth of the population, as well as a lack of clear laws and regulations on land ownership and use. In many cases, disputes arise over land ownership, boundaries, or access rights, leading to violence, displacement, and the loss of life.

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The problem of land disputes in Kenya is deeply rooted in the country’s colonial history. The British colonial government introduced land registration systems favouring large-scale landowners, often at the expense of indigenous communities. This created a legacy of landlessness and marginalization, especially in rural areas.

Another factor contributing to land disputes in Kenya is the government’s land acquisition policies, which often involve forced evictions and displacement of communities without adequate compensation or consultation. This has led to widespread resistance, protests, and legal challenges to government policies.

The Kenyan government has taken steps to address the problem of land disputes, including creating a National Land Commission to oversee land management and resolve disputes. The government has also enacted new land laws, such as the Land Act and the Land Registration Act, to promote transparency and accountability in land transactions and administration.

Despite these efforts, land disputes continue to be a major challenge in Kenya, particularly in rural areas where land is a primary source of livelihood. Resolving land disputes requires a multi-pronged approach that involves the government, civil society, and local communities working together to promote peaceful coexistence, transparency, and justice.

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