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November 15, 2018

Court okays Kwale Sugar's quest to evict squatters from its land

Kwale International Sugar Company  mills in Kwale county. /FILE
Kwale International Sugar Company mills in Kwale county. /FILE

Mombasa High court has declined to issue orders to stop the eviction of occupants of land allegedly owned by Kwale Sugar Company.

Residents of Gonjora, Vidziani, Fahamuni, Mabatini, Nyumba Sita, Kingwende in Msabweni, Kwale county had sought orders to stop their eviction.

But judge Erick Ogola said the application seeking review of the earlier orders had not satisfied the threshold.

Ogola said their was no sufficient evidence to warrant the review of the orders stopping the group's eviction.

The residents had sued nine institutions including the Kwale county, Agriculture PS, the National Treasury, and the Attorney General.

Through their lawyer Elkanah Manguro, the residents claimed the court erred in lifting conservatory orders issued on 2011.

In March, judge Ogola set aside orders given seven years ago stopping their eviction until the determination of the matter.

However, the residents said the judge misrepresented the facts given by the sugar company without considering facts of the petitioners and lifted the orders.

Onguro said officials from the Kwale county commissioner's office visited the villages while a contingent of GSU officers.

He said the eviction did not materialise after an intervention by the Kwale county government.

Kwale county lawyer Farida Jadi said a meeting held between the villagers, the county government, and the sugar company had resolved not to evict the villagers.

Jadi said a task force, which was spearheaded by the current Devolution PS Nelson Marwa, had recommended that the residents be given an alternative land.

She, however, said the recommendations have never been implemented.

However, Kwale sugar and the AG urged the court to dismiss the application as it lacked merit.

Tom Ojienda, acting for the sugar company, said even though Kwale Sugar were the legit owners of the land, they had not evicted or threatened the villagers.

He said the company had not destroyed the properties of the villagers and therefore, the application should be dismissed.

Ojienda asked the court to allow them to cultivate the piece of land which is not occupied.

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