An outlawed group has called on more than two million squatters to resist evictions until the government resolves the thorny land issue at the Coast.
Mombasa Republican Council secretary-general Randu Nzai urged the government to halt the ongoing evictions at Kwa Bulo in Kisauni and Ndunga Unuse in Changamwe to avert chaos.
Mr Nzai claimed the squatters felt cheated as the government’s promises to tackle landlessness have never been fulfilled.
He cited 2009 when the government registered all squatters in the region and pledged to issue them with title deeds but had not done so.
“Coast people are tired of being evicted from their land. It has reached a time when people have to defend their land rights,” he added.
Mr Nzai said the historical injustices on land cannot be solved by the courts which only recognise title deeds and claimed the Provincial Administration was working with the wealthy for selfish gains while frustrating the poor without title deeds.
He added that it was oppressive to see residents at Dunga Unuse, Bombolulu, Vikobani and Kwa Bulo living in fear yet they were Kenyans.
Speaking on phone separately, Kilifi Nominated Councillor Safari Kilumo said indigenous people should be left to live peacefully on their ancestral land.
“The government needs to appreciate coastal people and not mistreat them because they lack title deeds,” he said.
The Nominated councillor said the government could have used the settlement Trust Fund to finalise the demarcation and settlement process.
“We are tired of leaders dangling title deeds for political gains during election campaigns. This time round, we will not accept the ploy,” he said.
On the Kwa Bulo squatters, Mombasa Deputy Mayor John Mcharo said 10,000 residents occupying about 88 acres of land that belonged to the defunct Kenya National Assurance Company for many years are facing eviction.
Seek amicable solution
“The residents’ interests need to be addressed first, otherwise the evictions will negatively affect them,” he said.
The Free Town Councillor urged Coast PC Ernest Munyi to convene a meeting between a private developer interested on the land and the representatives of the affected families to seek an amicable solution.
About 10,000 people at Dunga Unuse in Changamwe constituency were left homeless after their houses were demolished last week.
At the same time, acting Kilifi DC Christopher Siele has urged residents to resists attempts by fraudsters to move them out of their homes.
Addressing Jamhuri Day celebrations at Karisa Maitha Stadium in Kilifi on Monday, Mr Siele said many people have been using fake land documents to frustrate the locals.
“Not all land documents produced are genuine, verify with land officers so they can advise on what to do,” he said.
Meanwhile, Immigration Assistant Minister Mr Francis Baya urged the government to halt land allocation in the Coast until the Land Commission is operational.
He said land problems in the region were inherited from the colonial era and since then the three regimes have not changed laws to enable the local communities own land.
Speaking in Wundanyi town the assistant minister said: “What we want is the Land Commission to be given time to address the injustices committed to the coastal communities,” he said.
Reported by Bozo Jenje, George Kikami and Jonathan Manyindo