- They said the private developers have caused too much suffering as public offices are used to intimidate residents.
- According to the residents, the land grabbers have been making way to the area since the government announced plans of building the Shimoni Fishing Port.
Kwale activists and residents want the national government to revoke all the title deeds on disputed land at Shimoni in Lunga Lunga subcounty.
The residents said tycoons have been grabbing their ancestral land, rendering them homeless.
They said the private developers have caused too much suffering as public offices are used to intimidate residents.
According to the residents, the land grabbers have been making way to the area since the government announced plans of building the Shimoni Fishing Port.
Justice for Restoration and Child Care Organisation chairperson Mohammed Mwakuyala said the Sh2.6 billion port project has made tycoons restless as they salivate for precious ancestral and public land in the area.
"Since it came to be known that there will be a Shimoni port project, cases of land injustices have soared," he said.
Mwakuyala said rich people have been forcing their way in the area with fake title deeds, evicting residents from their ancestral lands.
He said some of them are claiming ownership of land scheme plots, shrines and Kayas.
Anzwani, Tswaka, Mji Mwiru and Msufini are among the many affected areas.
The activists also said the alleged land grabbers have been seeking immunity from the local authority.
He said the private developers are evicting residents with the protection of some of the area's security team.
Mwakuyala said it is a situation that has left residents feel abandoned by their government as thousands live like squatters in their ancestral lands.
However, the Lunga Lunga subcounty deputy county commissioner Joseph Sawe has denied all the allegations.
Sawe said most of the residents who are complaining of land injustices do not file formal complaints in the respective offices.
"I have no information, the problem is that they only complain on social media. Let them report to us for action," he said.
But Mwakuyala said the residents have lost trust with the local authority because of frequent intimidations.
"A public officer cannot side with the perpetrator and expect a resident to go to the same office for help," he said.
A resident, Mwambeni Kirua, called for the interventions of the National Land Commission and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
She said they want surveys and land adjudication to be done properly and culprits investigated and arrested.
Mwambeni said the increased land injustices in the area have forced residents to continue living in poverty.
"We have a huge problem in Shimoni, we really need the government's help," she said.
Mwambeni also said women empowerment groups and development are collapsing because of the protracted land dispute between private developers and residents.
She said they always live in fear not knowing when bulldozers will bring down their houses, adding that a majority of the residents in disputed lands have already been served with notices to vacate.
Njamo Mohammed Parago from Msufini village said they lost a lot of money seeking justice but to no avail.
He said he was served with a notice to vacate his five acres of ancestral land but defied.
Parago said since then he has been receiving threats and having his property destroyed. He said they are always on the run as the alleged land grabbing vice intensifies in Shimoni.
The 37-year-old said their economy is bleeding because they can't do farming since crops are always uprooted by alleged illegitimate landowners.
"We used to plant bananas and mangoes on our farm but now we can't do anything because of the land disputes," he said.
Nasir Kirua Mgala said their children's future is at stake not knowing what they will inherit if their homes are invaded by tycoons.
He said it is heartbreaking seeing strangers with title deeds yet residents have been struggling to get the land documents without success.
Mgala is also calling for the Ministry of Lands to do justice and give back to residents their grabbed ancestral lands.
(edited by Amol Awuor)