1 December 2012

Kenya: Sh9.3 Billion Landowner Says He Won't Move

The owner of a 930-acre piece of land in Likoni, Mombasa County, says he will not accept offers of an alternative land from the government to in order to avert a crisis over the planned eviction of more than 100,000 squatters.

Evanson Waitiki, who wants the squatters evicted from his land in accordance with a 2001 court order, said accepting an alternative land by government amounted to promoting impunity.

"I am not willing to leave that land. You cannot pay me with public money to protect criminals who are supposed to be in jail for trespassing on my land. This is impunity and people must learn to obey court orders," Waitiki told The Star in a telephone interview yesterday.

He was reacting to calls three days earlier by local leaders led by transport assistant minister Hassan Joho for the government to offer him another piece of land after the squatters took to the streets to protest their impending eviction.

"We want this issue addressed before elections," Joho said during the demonstrations last Tuesday.

But Waitiki said that the demonstrations are politically motivated by people who want to seek mileage ahead of elections.

"Some of them have been calling, I can't reveal their names. Everything you are seeing is just politics but we are using all the legal means," he added.

Waitiki said he bought the land at Sh2 million in 1975and says it is now valued at Sh 9.3 billion. He has also accused the provincial administration of colluding with cartels to sell parts of the land.

"Already some of them are destroying my land, they are already selling it in cahoots with provincial administration. I have full details of a cartel operating on that land."

He also wants the police commissioner to be subjected to civil jail after he failed to implement the orders of the court given way back in 2001.

"Immediately we were given the order by the courts, there has been a lot of correspondence between me and commissioner of lands regarding the implementation of that order. Police have failed," Waitiki said.

But coast provincial police boss Aggrey Adoli was quoted in a section of the media saying, the police are ready to carry out the evictions ready if "Waitiki confirms to us that he has enough bulldozers and personnel to carry out the work."

Waitiki is said to have left the land back in 1997 during the deadly Kaya Bombo tribal clashes that left scores dead and injured. According to Likoni DC Lawrence Kinyanjui, the land has 13 mosques, five churches and schools.

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