Kaya elders cry foul as Malindi tycoon evicts them from land

Kaya elders perform rituals at Malindi's Magarini Cultural Centre in Kilifi County. They have accused a local tycoon of evicting them from a piece of land without notice. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]
Kaya elders in Malindi Sub County are an angry lot after a local tycoon evicted them from their premises within the town.

The elders claim that they were ambushed by the tycoon’s decision on Wednesday to fence off the compound that they have called home for 16 years.

Led by Malindi District Cultural Association (MADCA) secretary general Joseph Karisa Mwarandu, the elders said that their efforts to rehabilitate and offer residential services to victims of witchcraft allegations will be ruined after the evictions.

“We have been here for a long time and we wonder why the tycoon is after this land yet he has not shown us the ownership documents,” he said.

He added that the evictions were in bad faith and an attempt to grab the land that is part of a 24-acre parcel belonging to the government and was once used as an agricultural showground.

Defaulted

The MADCA spiritual leader Kazungu Karisa said that the tycoon, Japhet Noti Shutu, issued them with a notice to vacate the said piece of land and has started erecting a stone wall around the place.

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“We are worried after a church on the next parcel of land was ruthlessly brought down, with the sickly elderly people who are bedridden here, we do not know what to do.  We expected monuments from Britain to be brought here for preservation but it seems we are being removed,” he said.

Sikubali Safari said she was nursing seven elderly people who were rescued from their homes after being attacked by family members on suspicion of witchcraft.

“We also have students from within and outside the country who are using this centre for their studies doing research who will be affected by the demolition,” she added.

However, some MADCA members defended the tycoon saying that MADCA had failed to pay rent of Sh150 for years, adding that it may have been the reason why the owner decided to evict them.

“The problem that is there is between the owner of the land and the MADCA but we as traders have no problem with him, and the fence that is being erected around this place was initiated by the traders so that we can have a secure place to run our businesses,” said Silvya Jumwa, a palm wine trader.

When the media contacted the tycoon he produced an agreement signed between him and the MADCA and accused the elders of defaulting.

“We issued several notices with the last one being in December 2018, but they failed to leave and this affected my investments hence I had no otherwise but to send them out so that I can be free to invest in my land,” he said.

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