LAND DISPUTE

Three children missing after Utange demolitions

The children fled when the disaster was visited on them

In Summary

• The 12 acres are claimed by several people among them a woman who had allegedly been a househelp.

• The Coast is the only region where people own land without title deeds. 

Esther Kalume cries as she watches her house smoulder on Tuesday at Beach Komba area of Utange.
DESPAIR Esther Kalume cries as she watches her house smoulder on Tuesday at Beach Komba area of Utange.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI
Esther Kalume and Zawadi Charo salvage whatever little they can from Kalume's razed house on Tuesday at Beach Komba area of Utange.
DESPERATE Esther Kalume and Zawadi Charo salvage whatever little they can from Kalume's razed house on Tuesday at Beach Komba area of Utange.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI
Bakari Juma and Esther Kalume with a partially burnt school uniform at Beach Komba, Utange, on Tuesday .
SO UNFAIR: Bakari Juma and Esther Kalume with a partially burnt school uniform at Beach Komba, Utange, on Tuesday .
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

 

Esther Kalume held a smouldering clothing item with similarly burning plastic bowl stuck on it, wailing uncontrollably.

The piece of cloth was once her daughter’s school uniform.

 
 

Kalume's one-room mud house had caught fire in the wee hours of Tuesday under the watch of uniformed police officers, who were there to ostensibly execute an eviction order. 

The mother of three leaned precariously on the only standing wall of her house.

She kept asking no one in particular: “Where will I go?”

Her children, aged between five and 10, are missing. They took off when the disaster was visited on them.

“I don’t know where they are,” Kalume said in a husky voice, belying her pain and desperation.

She has lived at Beach Komba, Utange, for more than 30 years ago but had been spared the previous two evictions on the 12-acre property.

According to Kalume, the land belonged to her grandfather.

 

Another eviction victim, Darius Kazungu, said the woman claiming the land was their house help.

“She used to work for my father, Mzee Choga, until his death in 2016. Trouble started after we buried him here,” said the 38-year-old Kazungu. 

He said his father owned 27 acres on which 370 people live.

Senior principal magistrate Charles Ndegwa had on September 3, 2019, restrained Bamburi police station OCS Raphael Lewela Mbinga, Deputy County Commissioner and Kisauni OCPD from evicting or demolishing any structure on the land pending the hearing and determination of the application inter parte.

Shida Dzitu Kalume and Khamisi Chondo Sudi filed the case on August 30, 2019.

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji had on February 3, said land disputes formed 44 per cent of the cases reported during public inquiries between January 27 and February 4 in Mombasa and Kilifi counties.

“The main issues vary from the inheritance, double allocation, duplication of titles, malicious prosecution, among others. These need to be addressed immediately,” Haji told a Criminal Justice Accountability conference at Sarova Whitesands Hotel.

High Court judge Eric Ogola told the occasion that Coast has peculiar criminal cases involving land.

“This is the only region where there are people who own land without title deeds. This is the source of all problems,” Ogola said noting that the problem often escalates to land invasions with the rich obtaining adverse possessions.

Ernest Cornel, the communication, monitoring and evaluation officer with Muslims for Human Rights blamed lack of respect for court orders for the state of affairs.

“The problem is no one respects orders from the courts. The wealthy use their money to try to defeat justice. That is the start of chaos,” he said.