Police intervene after Criticos fence pulled down

Wednesday March 18 2020

Tension is brewing in Abori Grogan village in Taveta, Taita Taveta County after residents pulled down a fence erected by former MP Basil Criticos claiming it was passing through their farms.

Police were forced to intervene after the residents vowed to stop any further construction works on the contested land.

Taveta OCPD Joel Chesire said tensions have cooled but warned the residents against taking the law into their own hands.

Mr Chesire urged the locals to use proper channels to solve the land row.

The former legislator is erecting an electric fence to stop invasions on his 5,000-acre farm which includes the famous Grogan Castle Hotel and his expansive sisal estate.

On Saturday, the residents held demonstrations to protest the alleged land grab and threatened to pull down the fence posts.

“I have a title deed for the piece of land I am living on. What is surprising me is why this politician is claiming that a part of my farm is his,” said Mr Matayo Babu, whose house has been fenced in. 

They also accused the politician of also grabbing a 7km road that links the village to Taveta town and a health facility. 

In addition, the residents claim that the former MP has grabbed another road that leads to Mata primary and secondary schools.

“We cannot go to the hospital because the road is closed,” said a villager, Ms Mary Mwemba. 

Ms Mwemba said Mr Criticos refused to hold talks with the local residents to settle the boundary row.

Mr Criticos owns a vast tract of land in the area that has been encroached by squatters because most of it has been lying idle.