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NLC boss, Nelson Marwa to appear before MPs over evictions

Saturday February 18 2017

National Land Commission

Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu (left) and Parliament's Lands committee vice chairman Moses Ole Sakuda gesture during their visit to Dunga Unuse on February 17, 2017. They said they want NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri to explain why residents of Dunga Unuse were evicted. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MOHAMED AHMED
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A parliamentary committee wants to question National Land Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri and Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa over the eviction of residents from a piece of land in Changamwe.

Land Committee vice-chairman Moses ole Sakuda said MPs will also seek to quiz the then police division commander and the owner of Westlands Properties Limited, who are said to have been involved in the evictions.

More than 400 families were ejected from the land in Dunga Unuse, Mombasa, in September 2015 and their homes demolished.

Speaking during a meeting with the residents at the controversial land, Mr Sakuda said the committee will seek to know the method used to expel the locals.

"We are going to call these people and sit down with them so as we get to know the criteria used to eject these people.

"If you are here and you are working with Westlands Company then your days are over because we cannot allow you to continue oppressing Kenyans who have rights to settlement," he said.

He further told Mr Marwa not to disturb people living on the tract.

The legislator said the team will also investigate to ascertain the origin of court orders that permitted the eviction, adding that he had information the orders were fake.

BASIC NEEDS

Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi, a member of the committee, said police were being used to evict the occupiers of the land.

Mr Mwinyi said he had been told by the Registrar of Companies that the firm does not exist.

"After my enquiries from the Registrar of Companies, I was clearly told that the company was not registered with them, which means this company is not there and the name is being used fraudulently," he said.

Other members present were MPs Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), Thomas Mwadeghu (Wundanyi), Paul Otuoma (Funyula), Benson Mbai (Masinga) and Charles Mutisya (Kitui Rural), among others.

Mr Otuoma said it is important for the committee to establish the process used to remove the residents, saying the law must have been infringed.

"The law is very clear. We want to know who ordered the eviction, because if it is the NLC [National Land Commission], then according to the laws, it is supposed to give a three months’ notice before an eviction.

"What happened here is an illegality and we cannot leave here and let illegality to continue," he said.

Stanley Gogoh, a resident, said residents have a right to basic needs and should be treated in a decent manner.

The residents are now living in tents donated by the Kenya Red Cross Society.