Governor Wycliffe Oparanya's dream to see Kakamega attain city status by 2022 could see at least 700 households with more than 80,000 people evicted in Mumias.
Those who own large parcels in Mumias around Ekama (triangle land), Mjini, Lumino, Shitukhumi, Manyatta, Lukoye and Nubian estates will be the most affected.
The residents have been given notices to vacate before the end of this month or be evicted forcefully.
Recently, senior county government officials accompanied by county askaris and police officers from Mumias West Police Station erected beacons on the affected parcel, which is about 200 metres from the Kakamega-Bungoma highway.
According to Musa Ndaliro, Emulushi Association chairman, the county says they are not entitled to compensation, claiming their forefathers sold the more than 412 acres to the Government for expansion of Mumias town in 1972.
Mr Ndaliro, 60, who has 17 children, said the the parcels in question are from South Wanga/Ekero. He has five acres within Ekama estate.
“Governor Oparanya told us to vacate the land to give way for expansion of Mumias town to municipal status. He told us that our great grandfathers were paid in 1972 in order to pave way for the expansion of the town,” said Ndaliro.
He said the defunct Mumias Town Council issued similar threats in 1992 and 1993 and that in June 2006, they evicted over 20 families at 3am to pave way for the construction of the Nabongo Cultural Centre.
He said since 2013 when the County Government of Kakamega came into effect, they have received threats and intimidation and that some of them have been arrested, assaulted and jailed for resisting to move out.
“We were barred from tilling our own land and county askaris cut down any maize or any other crops that we plant," he said.
“We are still in possession of our title deeds and have been sub-dividing land to our sons for inheritance and the ministry has been issuing us with new titles. We are living like squatters on our own land,” he added.
Oparanya said his goal is to see Kakamega attain city status by 2022 and to make this a reality, major face-lifts have to be done to Kakamega town and its satellite town of Mumias.
The World Bank has injected Sh383 million for the upgrading of infrastructure in the two towns.
The governor's plan was received with excitement by the locals who said it would help create jobs and catalyse the growth of the county’s struggling economy.
They, however, did not foresee the 'curse' (eviction) it would bring along.
Investigations by The Standard for the last two months have established that all the affected people have title deeds.
Abdala Maina Owochi, a father of nine and 16 grandchildren, is among those who are supposed to move out.
Beacons were recently erected on his land and if evicted, he will automatically become a squatter. His parcel that measures 3.5 acres has a free hold title deed.
Maina, 62, said he has conducted over 10 searches at the Kakamega Lands Registry and the results show that he is the legitimate owner of the land he inherited from his father.
“On May 28, at 2.30pm, I came back home and found the County Physical Planner, officers from Mumias Police Station and county askaris erecting beacons. I protested against the move since I had a court order. I was assaulted and then arrested,” he said.
Contacted over the matter, Mumias West Police Commander Peter Kattam declined to comment, saying only the county government can respond to the queries.
Salome Habai, a 61-year-old widow. Her husband died in 2005 leaving her with eight children and 19 grandchildren. Their parcel measures 9.5 acres.
Ms Habai said she had successfully carried out succession procedures on the land and his five sons have their own title deeds.
Ordering her to move outwithout giving her alternative land, she said, would be unfair and inhumane. Beacons have already been erected on her land.
Ismail Muchelule Wang’ona, 75, has 10 children and seven grandchildren and lives on a 21-acre piece of land, from which he is supposed to move out.
Mumias West Deputy County Commissioner Philip Soi said the 700 families were compensated by the Government and must leave.
A letter addressed to Mr Oparanya by Abigael Mbagaya, former National Land Commission (NLC) Vice Chairperson, however, says NLC does not have records of the Government's acquisition of the land for the extension of Mumias town."
“The commission has studied the documents you presented and would like to notify you that the commission does not have records of the acquisition of land for the extension of Mumias town," she said.
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