A court on Thursday, January 30 issued orders allowing police officers to accompany government officials to a farm linked to Deputy President William Ruto to disconnect alleged illegal water points.
The ruling came after area residents complained that Ruto’s acquisition of the 1,000-acre ranch owned by former MP Basil Criticos had seen the main water pipeline diverted to serve the farm on which livestock is reared.
The County Government of Taita Taveta then moved to court seeking orders to have its officials allowed on the farm, accompanied by police officers.
The county told the court that hundreds of households depended on the pipeline for, among other things, irrigation and domestic use. County officials had been denied access to the vast farm on Thursday, January 23 by the farm’s managing director identified as Arie Dempers.
Principal Magistrate Benson Khapoya of the Taveta Law Courts directed that the orders be served to Dempers.
“Upon careful perusal and consideration of the Certificate of Urgency, notice of motion application together with supporting affidavit sworn by Patrick Wadu, it is hereby ordered the application be hereby certified as urgent.
“That the orders to gain access to Kisima Farm immutably and also to disconnect and uproot/remove any illegal connection at the said farm/property are hereby granted,” court documents referenced by The Standard read in part.
The OCS/Deputy OCS at Taveta Police Station was further directed to provide assistance for the sake of maintaining law and order.
The controversial farm is located in Mata Ward, 27 kilometers from Taveta town.
The bone of contention is access to the Grogan Canal which draws its waters from streams in the Njoro area and drains into the farm.
Residents and herders claim that they are denied access to the canal which was built in the colonial era, with water allegedly diverted to the ranch which contains cattle and goats.
Managers of the farm, however, insisted that there were no illegal water points at the ranch.