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Elderly persons want government to evict an international research organization

NYANZA
By James Omoro | July 19th 2020

A group of elderly persons want an international research organisation to be evicted from their ancestral land for failing to compensate them.

The residents want the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe), which has operated in Homa Bay County for about 50 years, evicted from the land in Mbita town.

The more than 40 families from Usare clan have claimed ownership of the Kasgunga/Kamreri/2097 land occupied by Icipe. The land is approximately 56 acres and serves as Icipe's Western Kenya headquarters.

The elders claim they surrendered the land to Icipe on condition that they would be compensated for it later. But this has not happened 50 years down the line.

The senior citizens now want the research institute to compensate them now or move out of the land.

According to their spokesman Lukio Ogini, the families have been living like squatters on temporarily acquired land since they were removed from their land by a local chief to pave way for Icipe in 1970.

Pest control

Lukio said they agreed to donate the land after being convinced by the then senior chief, the late Damianus Ajwang, that they would be compensated.

He said the chief told them Icipe wound change the livelihood of people in the surrounding area and Kenyans at large.

"Enough is enough. We have been too lenient for a long time. They forcibly removed us against our will; our children cannot go to school yet they get profit from the land,” Lukio complained.

They had previously held protests, which yielded no fruit.

The senior citizens are now appealing to the government to intervene to enable them get compensation or get their land back.

“We are suffering like people who never owned land. We call on the government to rescue us from Icipe so that we can be compensated or given our land back,” said another victim, Samson Maende, 74.

Icipe is an international scientific research institute headquartered in Nairobi and working towards developing alternative and environment-friendly pest and vector management strategies.

They develop pest control methods that are not just effective, but also selective, non-polluting, non-resistance inducing and which are affordable to resource-limited rural and urban communities.

Efforts to get a comment from the Icipe management proved futile.

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