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September 26, 2018

[VIDEO] Turkana squatters in Kitale urge state to resettle them

Jamanur squatters help a man who was attacked and injured while scavenging for food in Kitale town / CORAZON WAFULA
Jamanur squatters help a man who was attacked and injured while scavenging for food in Kitale town / CORAZON WAFULA

Members of the Turkana community who have been living in Kitale for 55 years want the government to resettle them.

The more than 200 Jamanur squatters have been living near Kitale town and rely on well-wishers and scavenge on leftovers for food from Kitale streets.

On Saturday they said they have been forgotten and neglected by both the Trans Nzoia and Turkana county governments.

The Star learnt the community is not allowed to construct decent houses in the area. They live in houses made of rags and plastic sheets.

A few metres from their settlement, the Trans Nzoia government is setting up a parking lot for lorries to transport oil from Lodwar to Mombasa.

The community said even with the discovery of oil in their county, there is nothing to celebrate.

Elder Arumait Epakal said their forefathers came to the area 55 years ago and were employed as casual labourers by a person known as Jamanur, who owned a slaughterhouse.

“This is the only place we have known as home, since most of us were born here,” he said.

Arumait said in 2016, Governor Josphat Nanok told the Turkana community who live in the county to ask Governor Patrick Khaemba to give them land.

“Governor Nanok told us that we should not think that we have land in Turkana county yet we live in Trans Nzoia,” he said.

Arumait said they have been asked to vacate the land where they live as squatters.

Jane Ekidor, a mother of seven children, said they live in a one roomed house.

“It’s uncomfortable sharing a room with our grown up kids but we have no option.”

The community is clinging on hope as Hospital MCA Eric Wafula is preparing to table a bill at the county assembly to urge the county government to give the squatters a place to settle.

If the bill passes, it will mark the end of more than 55 years of suffering of the squatters. The MCA said it is sad for the people to live in a place for many years as squatters.

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