Residents of Isanga-Iwishi ranch in Taita Taveta County protest planned eviction on February 22, 2021
20,000 families have been saved from forced evictions by ranch managers who were planning to develop the 15,000-acre Isanga Iwishi ranch in Taita Taveta County
High Court Judge Charles Yano stopped the planned eviction until an ownership case is heard and determined.
County Secretary Liverson Mghendi sought the orders after the families appealed to Governor Granton Samboja to intervene.
Over 300 farmers protested the eviction on February 22, taking to the streets claiming that the land belongs to them.
“This is our ancestral land. How can the ranch officials come and claim they own this land?” Musa Mkalla, a resident questioned.
The residents argued that the land was passed down to them by their forefathers who occupied it before the first world war.
Mkalla said previous leaders took advantage of the community’s ignorance to register the land in private hands locking out the locals.
“All our leaders have never been local residents. They had come from other locations and took advantage of our ignorance. They took our land and now call us squatters,” he said.
The demonstration almost degenerated into chaos after a senior police officer from Mwatate taunted the angry farmers.
It took the efforts of Mwatate Assistant County Commissioner Dennis Juma, to calm them down and ask them to find alternative ways of handling the issues.
Taita Taveta County Assembly has summoned Lands CEC Mwandawiro Mghanga for giving the ranch managers consent to sell part of the land.
Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja speaking before the Senate’s Committee on County Public Accounts and Investments on August 28, 2018.
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