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Eviction of 76 Njukini families halted

The families were to be kicked out on Monday

In Summary

• The families settled on rocky grounds and hilltops after failing to be allocated portions at Sir Ramson land.

• The eviction notice came from deputy county commissioner on Monday last week, prompting prrotests from human right lobby Haki Yetu.

Some of the temporary houses that were to be demolished in a planned eviction on Monday at Njukini area of Taita Taveta county.
MORE TIME GAINED Some of the temporary houses that were to be demolished in a planned eviction on Monday at Njukini area of Taita Taveta county.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO
Haki Yetu's Justus Wanyama talks to Mary Msegha at Njukini area of Taita Taveta county last Friday.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTERVENTION Haki Yetu's Justus Wanyama talks to Mary Msegha at Njukini area of Taita Taveta county last Friday.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

The planned eviction of 76 families in Njukini, Taita Taveta, has been halted.

The reprieve came on Monday a week after the families were issued with notices to vacate the land they have occupied since 2018.

They are part of the families evicted in 2018 from Gicheha farm and resettled in the adjacent Sir Ramson land, also known as Ziwani Settlement Scheme.

Gicheha farm is said to belong to a prominent family.

The 76 families missed out on land allocation at Sir Ramson and settled on rocky grounds and hilltops.

On Monday last week, Chala/Njukini assistant county commissioner Madamu Sharon told a public baraza at Ziwani Settlement Scheme that the hills and the rocky grounds belong to Gicheha farm.

Part of the fence arpound the Gicheha Farm in Njukini area of Taita Taveta county.
RING-FENCED Part of the fence arpound the Gicheha Farm in Njukini area of Taita Taveta county.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

Lobby group Haki Yetu protested, arguing that the National Land Policy 2009 and the Constitution recognised the need to have an appropriate eviction guideline.

On Monday, deputy county commissioner Mericho Main and Gicheha farm manager George Kyallo resolved to resettle the families on alternative land.

“The complainants are required to come with a list of those requiring resettlement,” Haki Yetu executive director Fr Gabriel Dolan said.

 

Dolan said Haki Yetu will be working with the community to compile the list.

“We will return to the ground to verify the list of beneficiaries and to submit the same to the DCC,” the Catholic priest said.

He said the families were not furnished with written notices and that the weather is not conducive for eviction, especially during Covid-19.

“In light of this, should any evictions be undertaken in the area, you shall be held personally liable for any human rights violations,” Dolan wrote to the Taveta sub-county administration.

The county government said the eviction is likely to cause a crisis.

“While we respect private property, still it would have been better that the matter was discussed by both governments and the owners of the land to address the problem so as to take sustainable measures to avoid the impending crisis now and in the future,” Taita Taveta Lands executive Julius Mghanga said in a letter to the county commissioner.

Fr Dolan on Tuesday told the Star land disputes need not end up in chaos. “There is always an avenue for dialogue and amicable solution.”

 

- mwaniki fm