Sunday, Feb 01st 2015

Kenyatta kin sues Mama Ngina over ‘grabbed’ land

Monday, October 8, 2012 - 00:00 -- BY JILLO KADIDA
Karume burial
Former first lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta followed by Margaret,Uhuru's wife arrive at Cianda for Njenga Karume's burial Photo Njenga Gicheha

Mama Ngina Kenyatta, the widow of founding father Jomo Kenyatta, and her son Uhuru Kenyatta have been sued by a relative over allegations of land grabbing.

The only surviving brother of Mzee Kenyatta, Peter Muigai Ngengi, accuses Mama Ngina and Uhuru of wrongfully depriving him of his three and a half acres. The plot is at Ichaweri village in Gatundu, Kiambu County.

Mama Ngina and Uhuru are yet to file a replying affidavit to the claims by Ngengi. In a petition filed at the High Court 34 years after the death of the former President, Ngengi alias Wakameme says that Kenyatta and his family took his land to satisfy their desire to expand their home to attain to the status of a presidential palace.

However, their father (the father of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta) would always stop such ideas and sternly warned the former President against misusing his powers.

Ngengi quotes in his suit papers what he said his father used to tell the President. “Na tondu unene ni uriaga mundu ta karubu (local brew) ndukanahatike muru wa thoguo (because power intoxicates like beer don’t you ever encroach upon your brother's inheritance).”

According to Ngengi, the former President took seriously the stern warning by their father and never moved anyone from his land. “All members of the family lived in joy and harmony in their portions of inheritance and neighbours applauded my father for his wisdom and love he had for his family,” Ngengi says.

However, after their father died and even before his body was lowered into the grave, the beacons dividing Ngengi's and Kenyatta’s land were allegedly uprooted at the order of the President.

Ngengi says he protested against the action and declared that he would not give up his land. “I was ready to die and be buried with my father. I then went and put the beacons back to their rightful positions,” says Ngengi in his affidavit sworn in support of the case.

At one point, he says, a presidential guard whom he identified as a Mr Gatundu came to him and pleaded with him to leave Kenyatta alone.

Ngengi says shortly after the burial of their father Kenyatta ordered for removal of the beacons and his arrest. Ngengi says he was arrested and taken to Gatundu colonial prison as his house was demolished.

He says he went through immense trauma sometimes without having enough food to eat. The President is said to have ordered later that Ngengi and his family be built a house in Mutomo on government land.

Ngengi says he was moved together with his family to Munyu near Ndarugu River in the middle of the wilderness with no tent or permanent structure to call a home.

He says he has nine children and several grandchildren many of whom have died of malnutrition. Ngengi equates his story to that of Naboth, Jezebel and Ahab in the Bible describing himself as the Naboth.

The story is in the book of Kings chapter one verse 21 where Ahab the king wanted the vineyard at Jezreel belonging to Naboth. Naboth refused and Jezebel, the king’s wife, schemed to kill him for Ahab to get the vineyard.

Ngengi says he continues to suffer and languish in poverty and believes the Kenyatta family threw him out of his land because of greed.

He claims in the court papers that the Kenyatta family owns huge chunks of land in the country. Ngengi pleads with the court to give him justice before he dies so that his children will benefit. “I pray that before I close my eyes in death I will get help. Countrymen, I fought for independence. God gave it to us. As for me it meant persecution and torture. I thank God that am still breathing. When my last breath comes and my eyes are closed in death, just know this is the truth,” says Ngengi in his affidavit.

 Ngengi wants the court to make declarations that he is entitled to compensation by Uhuru and his mother for the dispossession. He also wants an order compelling the government to repossess the three and a half acres from Mama Ngina and Uhuru and give the land to him. Also sought is compensation from government for his wrongful detention of one year.