1.This is the first appeal of Jacob Agengo Anzigale alias Manase (the appellant) against the ruling of Njoroge J in Environment and Land Court Case No 190 of 2017. Kolongei Farmers’ Cooperative Society is the respondent.
2.A brief background of this matter is that the respondent filed a notice of motion in the ELC for a substantive order:
3.The said application was based on the grounds that the respondent and the appellant entered in to a sale agreement for the sale of LR No 5335/31 (suit land) on October 17, 2011, the respondent paid the consideration and took possession of the suit land.
4.Prior to that, the appellant and others had sued the respondent in respect of an agreement relating to LR No 5335/10, and obtained declaratory orders against the respondent. Aggrieved by the said orders, the respondent appealed in this Court where, vide the parties’ consent, it was ordered that the respondent do recover the purchase price from the appellant or take appropriate steps to regularize the transaction entered into vide the earlier agreement.
5.It was averred that the appellant had failed to refund the purchase price or take steps to regularize the sale of the suit land to the respondent.
6.Further, the appellant had sought to effect the eviction order yet the respondent has many members in occupation of the suit land and they have been in such occupation for over twenty years and have expended substantial amounts of resources on the land. As such, they will suffer irreparable loss and damage in the event that they are evicted. It was also averred that the eviction order issued was irregular and unlawful as the respondent was not invited to show cause.
7.In opposition, the appellant filed a replying affidavit and notice of Preliminary Objection. It was averred that the matter herein had been substantially in issue in Kitale High Court Suit No104 of 1997 and in Eldoret Civil Appeal No 242 of 2004 hence the suit is res judicata; that the sale agreement is null and void for want of the consent of the Land Control Board; that the superior court in entertaining the suit does so per incuriam in breach of the Court of Appeal decision in Eldoret Civil Appeal No 242 of 2004; that the respondent has always been in unlawful possession of the land; that the respondent has not paid the full purchase price and that the appellant wrote twice to revoke the agreement.
8.Upon considering the matter before him, the learned Judge found that it is proper to consider and determine the application on the balance of convenience for the purpose of safeguarding the suit land. As such, he allowed the application, pending the hearing and determination of the main suit.
9.The appellant dissatisfied and aggrieved by the above ruling filed this appeal on the following grounds that:(a)The learned Judge erred in law in failing to appreciate that the validity of the sale agreement subject of the suit, the one dated October 17, 2011 was a question of law, and not facts to be canvassed in the hearing of the main suit.b.The learned Judge erred in law in failing to appreciate that the sale agreement subject of the suit, the one dated October 17, 2011 was null and void by operation of law.c.The learned Judge erred in law in failing to address himself on the prayer No 2 in the appellants Notice of Preliminary Objection dated December 30, 2017.d.The learned Judge erred in law in failing to appreciate and follow the binding decision of this Honourable Court in Nairobi Court of Appeal Civil Appeal No 76 of 2014”.
10.This matter was canvased by way of written submissions and oral high lights. Learned Counsel, Mr. Githinji filed written submissions on behalf of the appellant. There was neither appearance for the respondent, nor written submissions filed by them or on their behalf inspite of service of a hearing notice upon them on November 1, 2022.
11.Mr. Githinji urged this Court to find that the agreement dated November 17, 2011 is null and void for want of Land Control Board consent and that this is a pure question of law. That it was a common ground that the sale agreement dated October 17, 2011 did not have consent of the Land Control Board, either within the 6-month statutory period or as at the time of filing this application. It was further stated that the appellant argued before the superior court to vindicate ‘a generally accepted practice’ that the appellant ought to have obtained the consent. That under section 8 (1) of the Land Control Act the procurement of the Consent is the responsibility of any of the parties.
13.We have looked at the record of appeal and the submissions on record. As stated earlier, this is a first appeal, and our role as such was elucidated in Gitobu Imanyara & 2 others v Attorney General  eKLR, where this Court stated that:
14.Having stated that, the single issue to be considered in the matter before this Court, is whether the Preliminary Objection raised by the appellant in the superior court met the threshold for it to be upheld. For us to answer this question we shall consider two sub- issues. The first as stated in ground No 2 is whether the suit is res judicata and the second as summarized from grounds No 1, 3 and 4 is whether the sale agreement, which is the subject of the suit, the one dated October 17, 2011 was null and void by operation of law
15.For a Preliminary Objection to succeed it is trite law that it must be based on a pure point of law and such a pure point of law must be one such as is capable of disposing of the suit. This Court in the celebrated case of Mukisa Biscuit Manufacturing Co Ltd vWest End Distributors Ltd [1969) EA 696, pronounced itself on what defines a Preliminary Objection as follows:
16.Further, the Preliminary Objection will not succeed if it is predicated on facts that must be ascertained by adduction of evidence, or it is dependent on the discretion of the court. This is to be discerned in the same case of Mukisa Biscuits Manufacturing Company (supra) at page 701, where the Court went further to state that:We have therefore considered the record before us to establish whether the appellant has made his case on the two sub issues.
17.In ground No2 of this appeal the appellant argues that the learned Judge did not address himself to prayer No 2 in the appellant’s Notice of Preliminary Objection dated December 30, 2017. The said prayer was couched as follows:
18.The first question that begs an answer therefore, is whether this case was res judicata. The Black’s Law Dictionary, Thomson Reuters, 10th Edition defines res judicata as in the following way:The three essential elements are (1) an earlier decision on the issue, (2) a final judgment on the merits, (3) the involvement of the same parties, or parties in privity with the original parties”
19.The purpose of the principle of res judicata is to support the good administration of justice in the interests of the public and the parties by preventing abuse and duplicative litigation and its twin principles are often expressed as being the public interest that the courts should not be clogged by re-determinations of the same disputes; and the private interest that it is unjust for a man to be vexed twice with litigation on the same subject matter.
20.The substantive law on res judicata is found in Section 7 of the Civil Procedure Act Cap 21 which provides that:
21.Further, the Supreme Court in Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission vMaina Kiai & 5 Others  eKLR, while considering the said provision held that all the elements outlined thereunder must be satisfied conjunctively for the doctrine to be invoked. That is:(a)The suit or issue was directly and substantially in issue in the former suit.b.That former suit was between the same parties or parties under whom they or any of them claim.c.Those parties were litigating under the same title.d.The issue was heard and finally determined in the former suit.e.The court that formerly heard and determined the issue was competent to try the subsequent suit or the suit in which the issue is raised.”
23.The appeal before this Court revolves around the validity of the agreement dated October 17, 2011 between the parties herein. We note that in paragraphs 14,15,16, 17 and 18 of the judgment, the superior court pronounced itself on the prayer set out above.
24.In paragraph 18 and 19 of the impugned ruling the learned Judge held that:
18.the agreement relied on in these proceedings was entered into after the suit had been determined and before the appeal was lodged.
19.I do not think that the agreement was the subject matter of either the suit or the appeal, it being a new agreement, and in any event, the defendant has not demonstrated that it was. This court may examine the validity of the said agreement vide a substantive hearing of the suit herein.”
From the foregoing analysis, we find that the agreement relied on in these proceedings having been entered into after Kitale High Court Suit No 104 of 1997 had been determined it was therefore not part of the determination before the High Court. The agreement in issue was also not the subject matter before the court in the Civil Appeal No 242 of 2004. And for that reason we agree with the ELC Judge that the matter was not res judicata.
25.In grounds No1, 3 and 4 of the appellant’s appeal, Mr. Githinji urged this court to find that the agreement dated October 17, 2011 is null and void for want of Land Control Board Consent. He submitted that this is a pure question of law. It was not disputed that the respondent did not obtain the Land Control Board Consent and in Mr. Githinji’s view, this rendered the agreement void in regard to section 6 of the Land Control Act. The said section provides as follows:(1)Each of the following transactions that is to say—a.the sale, transfer, lease, mortgage, exchange, partition or other disposal of or dealing with any agricultural land which is situated within a land control area;b.the division of any such agricultural land into two or more parcels to be held under separate titles, other than the division of an area of less than twenty acres into plots in an area to which the Development and Use of Land (Planning) Regulations, 1961 (L.N. 516/1961) for the time being apply;c.the issue, sale, transfer, mortgage or any other disposal of or dealing with any share in a private company or co-operative society which for the time being owns agricultural land situated within a land control area, is void for all purposes unless the land control board for the land control area or division in which the land is situated has given its consent in respect of that transaction in accordance with this Act.”
26.Section 7 of the said Act provides that, consideration paid for a transaction which becomes void is recoverable as a debt subject to section 22 of the Act. An application for consent is made under section 8 (1) of the said Act, which requires that the application for consent should be made in the prescribed form, within six months of the making of the agreement. The proviso thereto gives the High Court power to extend the period if it considers that there are sufficient reasons to do so upon such conditions, if any, as it may think fit.
27.This Court has on several occasions been called upon to examine this contentious topic, whether failure to obtain the Land Control Board consent makes the agreement between the parties void. In David Ole Tukai v Francis Arap Muge & 2 Others  eKLR relied on by the appellant, this Court held thus:The Court allowed the appeal and overturned the decision of the High Court which had held that in the situation before the court, the solution was to apply the principles of equity, and natural justice to temper the harshness of law such as Section 6 of the Land Control Act.
29.In regard to the Land Control Board consent, the Supreme Court in Rose Jebor Kipngok v Kiplagat Kotut  eKLR stated thus:12.Aggrieved by the decision of the trial court, the Respondent lodged an appeal in the Court of Appeal. After hearing the parties, the Court of Appeal on the contestation relating to the validity of the consent of the Land Control Board, agreed with the trial court that pursuant to section 8 of the Land Control Act, an application for consent of the Land Control Board is made within six months of entering into a contract for sale of controlled land, provided that for sufficient reason, the High Court may extend the period. However, it found that it was indisputable that a sale agreement was entered into between the Applicant and the Respondent and that pursuant to the agreement, the Applicant received a deposit of Kshs 700,000. It opined that the Land Control Act was not intended to be an instrument for unjust enrichment and that the equity doctrines of constructive trust and proprietary estoppel are applicable to the appeal. The Appellate Court proceeded to fault the trial court for failing to consider and apply the two equity doctrines and added that nothing in the Land Control Act prevents the Respondent from relying on the doctrines of equity. Consequently, it allowed the appeal and issued orders for specific performance against the Applicant.Flowing from the summary above, we see no reason to allow a second appeal to this Court as the determination by the Appellate Court in our view, does not transcend the circumstances of this particular case. By the same token, we do not see any significant question of law that requires the further input of this Court.”
30.It is clear from the jurisprudence in decisions above that the Land Control Board consent is not a question of pure point of law and the Court considers the circumstances of each case. As stated in the decision of the court appealed from, the validity of the impugned agreement was to be examined vide a substantive hearing of the suit.
31.Consequently, we are of the view that the appellant’s Preliminary Objection before the superior court did not meet the threshold required of such an application. Ultimately, we dismiss this appeal with costs and uphold the ruling of the High Court.