Joho wades into port workers’ land row after chaotic scenes
Governor Hassan Joho has issued a directive stopping eviction of squatters from a piece of land owned by port workers.
The evictions started last week following notices issued by Bandari Sacco.
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While squatters claim ancestral ownership of a section of the land, the High Court in Mombasa ruled that it belongs to Bandari Sacco.
Yesterday, County Secretary Francis Thoya said Joho had directed the over 4,000 squatters to stay put and ignore the eviction notices.
Mr Thoya criticised what he described as “chaotic eviction of squatters from their ancestral parcels of land in Kisauni,” terming them as a threat to security in the county.
“We have come here to tell you to stay put and not to be afraid because you have your people too. Governor Joho has sanctioned your stay on this land,” said Thoya.
Land Executive Edward Nyale said the department would not allow tycoons to ‘illegally evict’ thousands of residents from their ancestral land.
“No eviction or development of land should be undertaken before the county is consulted. We hold the land in trust for the people,” said Nyale.
However, the High Court has already ruled that the land in question does not belong to the squatters and ordered a freeze on further settlements.
The court ordered police to ensure no new structures are put up on the land after Bandari Sacco sought protection from the squatters.
Yesterday, Nguu Tatu squatters’ chairman Martin Chiponda, said several homes, three schools, two churches and a mosque were among the structures that were demolished during chaotic evictions last week.
According to documents in our possession, the land is part of the 314 acres of Hussein Dairy Farm, which was purchased by Bandari Sacco at a cost of Sh385 million in 2011.
“Several squatters were injured by hired goons who demolished our homes. We have court orders stopping these evictions,” he said.
Coast Youth for Peace Association Charo Nguma said rampant eviction of residents from ancestral land has sparked tension in parts of Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale.
“As we speak in Madzimbani, Kilifi, over 5,000 people have been evicted. We are saying that these things can spark chaos and we want the government not to take them lightly,” said Mr Nguma.
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He called on the Government and local leaders to amicably solve the problem to avert further chaos.
“We support the National Land Commission efforts to resolve these issues. It is however taking too long,” he said.