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Private developer evicts residents from land

COAST
By - | May 10th 2012


By Linah Benyawa

Residents of Moroto village in Kisauni, were rendered homeless after their houses were demolished when a private developer evicted them.

And Mombasa’s deputy Mayor John Mcharo has declared that the private developer identified only as Gitonga would not be allowed to develop the land. Mr Mcharo has vowed to contest the evictions in court.
The Standard was unable to establish the identity of the said developer although most of the affected residents said he is called Gitonga.

The demolition began at 6am when most residents were still asleep. Thursday, men, women and children were reduced to tears in the mayhem.
Mr Hamisi Mohammed, a victim of the eviction, said he was woken up by the noise of a bulldozer smashing his newly constructed house and all he could do was watch as his property was reduced to rubble.
Hamisi said: “I had to be armed with a knife ready to defend myself against the developer who claims ownership of this land, but now my house which I have built through my hard earned cash has been reduced to dust.”
Churches, graveyards and schools are among properties that were destroyed.
Kisauni deputy OCPD Thomas Sungut and Mcharo differed over the evictions.
Suspend learning
The deputy mayor maintained that the developer had no eviction order from court.
“There was no eviction order and this incident is inhuman particularly taking into consideration that this is a crucial year and such actions could trigger tension in the region. Such issues have led to the cropping up of groups like Mombasa Republican Council because we are tired of injustices,” he said.
But the OCPD said the eviction was lawful and based on a court order.

“The police officers had to be deployed to ensure the exercise was done smoothly and that no violence occurred during the demolitions,” he said.
Several residents were injured during the eviction. Learning was paralysed at Vilwalo Children’s Centre where some buildings were demolished. Saint Andrews Baptist School was also affected.

Ms Mary Opullo, the headmistress of Vilwalo Children’s Centre said the demolition began as pupils were streaming into classrooms and they were forced to suspend learning.

“The armed men and officers ordered us to remove the desks or risk losing them as they could also be destroyed during the exercise. Now we don’t know what will happen to these innocent pupils,” said Opullo.
Mr Kaingu Chanzera, who claimed to have lived on the disputed plot for more than 40 years, said it was wrong for the developer to claim ownership.

“My parents were buried here, all my family is here and we don’t know any other place so it’s shocking to wake up one day and get evicted like a thief,” said Chanzera.
A month earlier slum dwellers in Kibarani were injured following demolitions that left hundreds homeless.

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