Over 3,000 Kenyans are at risk of eviction from a piece of land in Msambweni, Kwale County after a private company won the decade-long court case.
According to court documents, the company bought the 57-acre piece of land from a shoe company and had filed a case in court to evict residents who had built houses on the land.
However, the residents argued that they had inhabited the disputed land from 1938 and therefore urged local politicians to intervene.
A signpost showing land for sale.
The private company however won the court case.
Residents are now crying foul claiming that local politicians interfered with the court case alleging that some of them had a longstanding interest in the land.
Despite numerous attempts to protect their homes, the locals have been served with an eviction notice
“I have seen the eviction order and this has been decided by the courts. When the order is implemented, it is us the residents, not the politicians who will suffer,” one of the residents stated.
In 2022, the residents filed a petition at the County Assembly of Kwale in an attempt to prevail upon MCAs to block the evictions.
The residents explained that the shoe company had leased the land for 99 years and was required to establish a factory to create job opportunities for the locals.
However, years passed and the company did not build a factory and they sold the land to the private company leading to the current tussle.
The company moved to court to have the residents evicted arguing that it was incurring losses the more the 3,000 individuals occupied the land.
“The applicant (the private company) wishes to execute the decree by demolishing and/or pulling down the structures on the suit property and evicting the illegal occupants. He has deposed that the intended exercise is most likely to be met with hostilities, resistance, and possible violence, and requires the police to provide security,” read part of the court documents.
The affected residents are among the thousands who lost their homes in 2023 due to demolitions after losing court cases.
In October, Kenyans who occupied land owned by the East Africa Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) in Athi River were left counting losses after bulldozers moved in following an order issued by President William Ruto.
A collage of houses under demolition in contested East African Portland Cement (EAPC Plc) land in Machakos County on October 17, 2023.