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Settle us before next elections to ease tension, squatters tell Government

COAST
By Benard Sanga | November 26th 2015

Thousands of squatters in Mombasa and Kilifi yesterday protested against landlessness.

They further accused political leaders of frustrating efforts by the National Land Commission (NLC) and the national government to resettle them.

Hundreds of activists, elders and leaders representing over 21,000 squatters gathered in Kisauni Barawa in Mombasa to highlight their plight.

They alleged some MPs had colluded with land grabbers to frustrate their efforts to acquire land and warned that delays could spark violence in the region.

They also accused the Judiciary of failing to protect them, citing ongoing demolition and destruction of their property despite existing court cases over disputed parcels.

"Who do we run to now? Some of our MPs have continued to castigate NLC efforts to settle us.

"They have opposed the Government's move to solve this problem, terming it a political gimmick," said Ms Joyce Riziki, one of the squatters on a 55-acre land in Barawa, Kisauni.

DISPUTED PARCELS

Yesterday, over 20 Kaya elders and Mijikenda youth leaders had a hard time convincing the squatters from over 10 disputed parcels to express their rage against local politicians they accused of opposing NLC Chairman Muhammad Swazuri.

"We met the chief justice who assured us our cases would be fast tracked. But since 2010 we are spending our nights in the cold and makeshift houses. The situation has been worsened by El Nino rains," said Kaya elders Chairman Erastus Kubo.

He said tension was rising at the Coast and urged the Government to hasten the process of settling squatters before the next polls.

Last year, 20 Kaya elders under the leadership of  Nguma Charo traversed Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River and Taita Taveta counties to preach peace after a bloody conflict between squatters who were resisting eviction by security agencies.

Dr Swazuri and Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa assured squatters the Government was in talks with landowners and squatters to strike a balance for peaceful co-existence.

Squatters who converged in Kisauni were the 527 families from the deputed 135-acre Lamkan parcel, 811 families from the 70-acre Nguuni Power land, 360 families from the 55-acre Barawa, 2,360 families from Nguu Tatu, and 4,363 families from of the 4,300-acre land in Kashani. These parcels are in Kisauni.

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