As in other parts of Africa during the Colonial Era, many Kenyans opted to fight the oppressive rule of the colonial government. In response, the colonial government sought military and political control by forcing the people into villages and physically separating them from freedom fighters. This started in the county of Kirinyaga in 1953 with displacement of land borrowers by the whites in Kiambu and Nyeri. By 1956, almost all the people of the county had been confined into 121 villages with freedom fighters living in the forests.
When the Mau Mau War came to an end, and the colonizers realized that the Kenya would get her independence, people started to be resettled back onto their lands. However, community structures that previously governed land issues had been disrupted and the resettlements weren’t necessarily equitable or comprehensive. Many dispossessed families lost part or all their existing investment in housing and farming improvement and many simply staying in the villages to which they had been assigned during colonial rule.
In order to allow these people to grow their own food and participate in the growth of the country, the government embarked on their reassignment to new land so that they could grow their own food and also participate in the economic growth of the country. One area that had space for this sort of resettlement was the South Ngariama Ranching Scheme of Kirinyaga County.
Covered with good pasture for livestock and shrubs that are good for goat raising, the 28,000-acre South Ngariama Ranching Scheme was established in 1957 by nine clans of the Kirinyaga County for the grazing of livestock. These clans later formed the South Ngariama Cooperative, which managed the ranch until 1978 when the local authority took over. It was not inhabited by the people and it was mainly reserved for grazing livestock. But the high rate of landless peoples as well as high demand of land resources in Kirinyaga after colonial rule prompted the Kenyan government in conjunction with the Kirinyaga County Council to resettle people on the Ranching Scheme.
The first group of people were allotted parcels of land here in 2004 and in 2007 beneficiaries started to move into the area from other parts of Kirinyaga. Since then they have established their new homes there and developed farms, schools, and other facilities. Some residents still have to walk long distances to collect water for domestic use and the roads remain undeveloped and impassable during the rainy seasons.
World Renew Kenya