The Star (Nairobi)

12 November 2012

Kenya: 300 in Taveta May Miss 2013 Polls Over Evictions

More than 300 residents of Riata in Taveta might not vote in next year's elections. Their IDs were destroyed when police burnt their houses to evict them from a government land.

Administration police officers, with orders from local Lands officials, torched 200 houses, including a church. Benard Mbuvi, a resident, said their property worth millions of shillings was destroyed by bulldozers.

"They did not show us any eviction notice before demolishing our houses.They hired goons and Administration Police officers who torched our houses.This is a plot by the government to lock us out in the voting process since they burnt our ID cards," he said.

Mbuvi said students in the area cannot go to school because their books and uniforms were burnt. He said students sitting KCPE and KCSE have been affected.

"Their revision materials have been destroyed and we now fear that they might perform poorly in the examinations. We want President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to come to our rescue," he said.

Kimorigo Kitobo ward councillor Sammy Kasanga said local leaders were not consulted by the Lands officials before the evictions were carried out.

"We are condemning the government for victimising members of a certain community who are on the land. Kitobo secondary school students who come from the area are the most affected and are not going to school," he said.

He called on the Kenya Red Cross Society to help the families that are living under trees in makeshift structures. "This is the rain season and people are really suffering. We fear disease outbreaks might occur in the area if urgent measures are not taken since they even destroyed latrines," he said.

Muslim for Human Rights official Kelly Aduo said they will prefer charges against those involved in the inhuman act. "We shall prefer charges against the provincial administration officials who torched people's houses and for contempt of court since they did not have court order to evict people," he said. He said the land issue in Taveta had been politicised and could lead to violence if not addressed properly.

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