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Families kicked out of Nakuru sisal farm seek help to settle

Wednesday August 07 2019
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The makeshift houses where about 400 families that were evicted from Athinai Sisal Estate in Rongai, Nakuru County in 2016 live in. They are now pleading with the government to resettle them. PHOTO | KEVIN KEMBOI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KEVIN ROTICH
By GEOFFREY ONDIEKI

Over 400 families who were evicted from Athinai Sisal Estate in Rongai, Nakuru County now want President Uhuru Kenyatta help them rebuild their lives.

The evictees, who have now camped at the Athinai trading centre along the Nakuru-Baringo road, were kicked out of the farm in 2016.

The families were evicted from Lomolo, Kabaraka, Kilinga, Kipkureko and Alphega sisal estates.

When Nation toured the camp recently, the evictees had turned a public market land into their home.

FORCIBLY EVICTED

Mr Kimosop Chepkongor, an evictee, said his family suffered the most after they were forcibly evicted from the only home they lived in for decades.

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“I was born in Kilinga in 1964 in the sisal farm and while growing I knew that was my home,” he said.

Mr Chepkongor noted that they now cannot provide for their families as they do not have jobs.

“Before we were evicted, we used to work on the sisal farms but after we were kicked out we had no jobs,” he added.

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Some of the people evicted from Athinai Sisal Estate in Rongai, Nakuru County in 2016. They have been camping at Athinai trading centre. PHOTO | KEVIN KEMBOI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

He further said that due to desperation, many have now resorted to alcoholism.

“When it rains our make-shift houses get soaked in water because they are made of plastic bags and other materials,” he said.

He stated that their children have also dropped out of school as providing for their learning have proven to be an uphill task.

Mr Chepkongor revealed that some of them have contracted diseases like asthma because of the harsh conditions they are living in.

Mrs Anne Tuitoek said she first thought it was a joke when news came that they would be kicked out of the sisal farms.

HOUSES FLATTENED

“With the help of the police, the sisal farm owner flattened our houses using caterpillars and did not care about our belongings,” she said.

She said that after the demolitions, it has been a tall order for them in their attempts to rebuild their lives as they were left empty-handed.

Mrs Tuitoek urged the government to help them find new places where they can settle and rebuild their lives.

Speaking about the eviction, the sisal farm’s director Harry Horn disputed the resident’s assertion, saying that he acted on a court order.

“Those that were evicted were temporary workers of the farm and they were evicted after they began claiming the land was theirs,” he said.

Mr Horn said that the families were given notices to vacate the place but they failed to comply and were therefore evicted.

“These individuals were a source of problems and insecurity to the farm. They had to move out,” he indicated.

Moreover, he said, the victims were paid their dues but they refused to leave the farm.

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