The Embu County government and its Agricultural department are challenging University of Embu in court over allegations that the University had grabbed 20 acres of land whereby the Agricultural Training Center is located.
The county Agriculture department stated categorically that it had been utilizing the land until recently when the University of Embu blocked some of its county employees from accessing the training center (located within the disputed land but adjacent to the university.)
The case was heard by principal magistrate Henry Nyakwemba. The county is seeking orders from the court to compel the university to surrender the 20 acres back to the county on grounds that it irregularly acquired the title deed.
The county deposed that located inside the Agricultural training center was lecture halls, hostels, demonstration plots and livestock which had been in existence for decades before the university had even been built.
Further through a sworn affidavit by chief officer Alvin Mugendi, the county averred that the university had already accepted, through a formal application agreement, to have the 20 acres hived off its land hence through the principle of estoppel they could not go back. The acceptance meant that the Agricultural Training Center could continue with its activities.
However, the university rebutted through a sworn affidavit by Vice Chancellor Daniel Mugendi. The Vice Chancellor disputed the assertion adding that he was not aware of existence of such an agreement stating instead that the Training Center had been seeking an extension of time to stay as they prepare to move to other areas ‘only for them to connive and deprive the school of its property by rushing to court and demand the land to be hived off the University of Embu’s land.
The university deposed that the institution stood on land that was part of the conditions used by the Commission of Higher Education to grant charter to the university.
The Magistrate urged the two parties to adopt Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism as provided for by Article 159 (2)(c) pf the Constitution that adopts reconciliation, mediation, arbitration and traditional dispute resolution mechanisms as alternative forms of dispute resolution. He also directed that the two parties to file further submissions while also ordering a stay i.e status quo to continue until the matter had been heard and determined.
The parties were ordered to fix a hearing date at the registry.
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