FIRST EVER IDPS

Lamu Shifta war victims demand title deeds

They say their plight is treated with less concern than that of other squatters

In Summary

• They also want the land they fled from in the 1990s secured and surveyed to keep out grabbers. 

•Say by refusing to release the TJRC report all these years, the government is hiding something concerning what happened during the war.

Shifta war squatters in Lamu are demanding title deeds for the land they currently occupy, saying they have nowhere else to go.

Despite being the first ever group of internally displaced persons in the country, the war victims say the government has chosen to treat them with less dignity than other squatters.

Following frequent invasion by during the war in the 1960s, the government in 1964 directed the dissolution of all affected villages which included Ishakani, Kiunga, Mwambore, Rubu, Simambaye, Mvundeni, Ashuwei, Matironi, Mkokoni,Vumbe, Saadani, Kiangwe, Ndhununi and Bodhei. 

 

They say their pursuit for compensation and resettlement over the years hasn’t borne fruit while other IDPs like those of the 2007 post-election violence have received compensation.  

Speaking in Lamu town on Wednesday, their spokesperson Mohamed Mbwana said all they want is for the government to ensure the land they occupy is demarcated and titles issued. 

He said its painful that the government has denied them any form of compensation while IDPs in other parts of the country have been treated with concern.

“There have been numerous surveys here but the Shifta squatters still get neglected since our lands haven’t been touched and we wonder why. Our last plight is that we get title deeds. Let them please us when we are alive. Many of us have since died without seeing justice and it’s just unfair,” he said.

They also want the land they fled from in the 1990s secured and surveyed to keep out grabbers. 

“Our hope is that the National Land Commission will have those lands surveyed and issued with deeds,” Mbwana said.

The squatters continue to push for the government to make public the report by the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission which detailed the evils and transgressions that befell them. 

 

Mbwana said by refusing to release the report all these years, the government is hiding something concerning what happened during the war.

Edited by R.Wamochie