Family accused of evicting squatters in Malindi claim lives in danger

Written By: Dickson Wekesa

A Malindi family accused of demolishing houses to evict squatters who had allegedly invaded part of their 300-acre parcel of land now claim that their lives are in danger.

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The Bakshuen family members led by their spokesman Said Bakhshueni said that ever since the eviction exercise took place, they have been receiving threatening calls and messages from anonymous people.

Speaking in Malindi he said on the day of eviction some irate members of the public destroyed some of his properties at his Ganda farm and stole goats in revenge.

The eviction exercise took place last Saturday at Kanyangwa a village within Malindi town and was done under supervision by police following court orders which he showed to journalists.

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Bakhshueni who was accompanied by his two elder brothers Ali Bakhshueni and Mbarak Bakhshueni showed journalists all land documents to justify that the land belonged to the family who inherited it from their late father.

He said they have had legal tussles with the squatters who had sued them one of which was dismissed after 15 years in 2005 giving them legality of ownership.

“After the squatters lost the case in 2005, they attacked me at the farm in 2006 as we were fencing the land,’’ he said.

Baskhueni said the attack led to a criminal case where the suspects were jailed in 2013 for 17 years while two out of the six were jailed for two years and are still serving their sentences to date.

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He said the squatters after losing the case which was heard in Mombasa, high court filed another suit in 2006 in Malindi and this time the number of squatters rose from 20 to 102.

The family spokesman said the case was heard by then Lady Justice Christine Meoli and concluded in 2013 where the squatters lost again and ordered to leave the land in six months.

He said the squatters then went to the court of appeal which was heard by a three-judge bench and still they lost the case.

Bakhshueni showed journalists the title deed of plot number 120 certificate number 640 to prove that the land belonged to the family.

He said the parcel of land measuring 360 acres initially belonged to Seif bin Hemed and his father bought it on August 9 1955 and showed the indenture who bought one-third of the land.

In 1972 he said his brother bought the other two-third share of the land making them full owners of the whole parcel of land which was registered on December 3, 1976.

“If my father bought one-third share and brothers bought two thirds share this farm belongs to my family that’s why we won in court, we have a title deed,” he said.

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Bakhshueni said he said eviction order was issued on April 24 2015 after the squatters lost the appeal case at the court of appeal another one in 2019 and 2020.

He said the eviction done last Saturday was done by a court bailiff supervised by police officers after they served the OCS, OCPD, and county commander.

As a family he said they resolved through the National Land commission to offer the squatters 30 acres of land of their choice to be subdivided to them.

At that time the land was valued at Sh. 3 million per acre which to them they had forfeited land worth Sh. 90 million for free to the squatters.

He said the squatters do not want the 30 acres but they want to sell the parcel of land which does not belong to them.

“Those are commercial people who sold land which does not belong to them, they claim we are tycoons yet we were born and brought up here, “he said.

Bakshueni said the parcel of land was subdivided into several plots and Kilifi county governor requested the family to increase the number of acres from 30 to 58 which they again agreed and set aside the land.

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“This is a letter dated November 16 2018 notification for approval of subdivision and change of for use from Agriculture to a residential area, the owners in consultation with the county government of Kilifi agreed to allocate 58 acres to settle 102 squatters as per high court civil suit of 2008,” he said.

Currently, Bakhshuen and his brothers said they are not at peace and called on the government to protect them from the squatters who are threatening them.

He said they are ready to negotiate with the government to buy the land at its current value to resettle squatters.

At the farm journalist found out that there was a small mosque which was burnt, a solar panel vandalized and over 100 goats stolen.

Charo Samson who has worked for the family for 20 years before the farm was sold to Stima Sacco said they were 25 employees but only seven are still there as the others left fearing their safety.

He said on the material day they had to run for their safety as the goons could have lynched them in revenge.

Kilifi CEC Member for lands Maureen Mwangovya on her part said they are against such evictions as they undermine the talks that they have been having with landowners to resolve the land problems.

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