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Protests as Swazuri orders eviction of 1,000 squatters

COAST
By Patrick Beja | August 3rd 2016

The National Land Commission has ordered the eviction of more than 1,000 squatters from private land in Matopeni, Kisauni.

The order sparked protests by the squatters and land rights groups who termed it illegal and irresponsible, and warned it could lead to bloody confrontations.

“We demand that the title to this land be investigated because we understand it was on lease basis for agricultural land but no farming took place. We are also concerned about the issuing of a notice without the squatters being given a chance to be heard. The NLC chairman,

Muhammad Swazuri, has overstepped his mandate because eviction notices should be issued by the court,” Kenya Land Alliance Coast Co-ordinator Nagib Shamshan said.

In a meeting held on the disputed land, the squatters and civil society groups claimed NLC did not conduct public participation and was only using threats after hearing that influential people were claiming ownership.

PROVE OWNERSHIP

Matopeni village chairman William Amama claimed Dr Swazuri wrote a letter dated June 23 claiming they were occupying plot number MN/1/11651 illegally. In the letter, Swazuri had given the squatters seven days to prove ownership or quit.

“We were never consulted on the matter and wonder why NLC is taking sides in this matter. We are not ready to leave,” Mr Amama said.

The land in dispute measures about 3.4 acres and is located close to Kongowea market off the Mombasa-Malindi highway. Swazuri told the squatters to stop any further activity on the land until the commission had determined the matter.

“Failure to obey any of these orders shall attract legal penalties,” Swazuri warned.

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