5 December 2012

Kenya: Shabhal Tells State to Buy Likoni Land for 120,000 Sqautter Families

MOMBASA governor aspirant Suleiman Shabhal yesterday asked the government to buy the 980-acre land in Likoni for the 120,000 families currently occupying it.

He said the government should use the Sh1 billion set a side annually as a settlement trust fund to buy the land to resettle the families. The families have vowed to resist attempts by land owner Evanson Waitiki to evict them.

In a statement, Shabhal urged the ministries of Lands and Finance to find a lasting solution to the problem to avert violence. Waitiki has won two cases and has obtained court orders for the eviction of the squatters.

The businessman wants the squatters to move out of his land from where he was evicted during the 1997 Kaya Bombo clashes. He says he lost property worth millions of shillings including domestic animals, crops, vehicles and his houses during the clashes.

"The government must purchase the land on behalf of the tenants using the available Settlement Trust Fund. I am personally concerned over the human suffering and displacement of more than 120,000 families living in the so called Waitiki farm in Likoni should the court order issued against the families be enforced," said Shabhal.

The police, who have since been served with the order, have been hesitant to effect it, saying it required a lot of manpower, labour and bulldozers, which they don't have.

"This court order is in respect to another issued in 2001 which had not been honoured. The families face disconnection of electricity by Kenya Power over a complaint by the owner. It is clear that a solution needs to be found urgently and it should be beneficial to all the concerned parties," he added.

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