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Widow, son given a week to reach deal on disputed land

EASTERN
By PAUL MUTUA | March 24th 2014
  The granny      [PHOTO: PETER MUTUA/STANDARD]

By PAUL MUTUA

Kitui, Kenya: A Kitui court has given a 90-year-old widow and her son one week to reach an agreement over a land row.

Kitui acting Chief Magistrate Alfred Kibiru told the two parties they had up to April 1 to come to settle the dispute out of court.

Kibiru said it was for the benefit of the family that the dispute be resolved amicably.

The magistrate made the remarks after he visited the widow, Mrs Grace Katuti Mutinda’s homestead in Maliku location, Kitui Central Constituency to view the contested piece of land measuring 5.12 hectares.

The widow wants her first-born son, Fredrick Mikate, 67, barred from occupying any part of the land, arguing she is its sole registered owner.

Mrs Mutinda contests that Mikate had no respect for her and it would be an abomination if he was allowed to take the land without her blessings.

The defendant’s counsel Kinyua Musyoki had earleir submitted that it would be prudent for the court to familiarise itself with the places that have been mentioned during the proceedings.

During the inspection, Mikate differed with his sister, Francisca Syombua, who was representing their aged mother, over the boundary between Mikate’s land and that of his mother.”

 There were abandoned structures and uncompleted buildings in the homestead which Mikate claimed were his.

 The magistrate asked Musyoki and the plaintiff’s lawyer, Morris Kimuli, to consult their clients on the possibility of striking an out-of-court deal and set April 1.

 On Thursday, the court sat for a 5-hour inter-partes hearing in which Mikate denied trespassing into her mother’s property.

The former Kitui civic leader told the court that his sister, Syombua, was allegedly instigating the move to have him kicked out of the disputed land.

He accused her sister of malice and blamed her for his feud with their aged mother.

 “I was given the piece of land by my late father and my mother has since turned against me. It is my mother who implored my father to give me two parcels of land as I am supposed to assume the headship of the family in the event of their (parents’) absence,” said Mikate.

Cross-examined by both Musyoki and Kimuli, the witness denied he intended to unlawfully seize the parcel of land from her mother, claiming that he only wanted a share of it.

However, Mikate’s wife, Lenah Kasyoka, contradicted him when she said she was ready for an out-of-court deal to end the dispute.

But Mrs Mutinda has maintained that she can’t live in the same compound as her son and his family.

“If this court disallows my plea in restraining my son from having the land, it will be better for me to leave instead,” said the widow tearfully.

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