NAIROBI, Kenya - Police dispersed yesterday at least 100 Kipsigis tribesmen who wanted to deliver demands to the British embassy here for settlers to vacate tea plantations in the Rift Valley province, police said.
“Police officers stopped some 100 Kipsigis tribesmen from heading to the British High Commission to hand over a memorandum demanding settlers to vacate their tea plantations in Kericho,” in Rift Valley province, police spokesman Jasper Ombati told Agence-France Presse.
“They did not reach the commission,” he added.
Witnesses said the tribesmen, numbering about 100, carried signs condemning Britain, Kenya’s former colonial ruler, and demanded that white settlers who control thousands of acres of tea plantations in the Rift Valley vacate the land.
“Tealand remains our Canaan! Your gluttony causes you to vomit all over our bare feet! Away with economic colonialism! Compensate us for human rights violations! Multinational companies go home!” some of the placards read.
The Kipsigis are a sub-tribe of former President Daniel arap Moi’s Kalenjin ethnic group, which is dominant in Rift Valley province.
One of the foremost Kalenjin tribal leaders, Chief Koitalel arap Samoei of the Nandi, was killed in the early part of the 20th century on orders of the British colonial administration for resisting the takeover of Kalenjin land by British settlers.
In August, police broke up demonstrations by Masai tribesmen who also were demanding more than 2 million acres of land that they leased to British settlers a century ago. The lease expired last month.
The protests led to the death of an elderly Masai man and the invasion of several farms in central Kenya.