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Hundreds of Families Homeless after Demolitions

Over 100 families from the Gombato area in Kwale County have been left homeless after their houses were demolished at dawn on Saturday by bulldozers as police guarded the operation.

The squatters have been living on the 57-acre land previously owned by a former Cabinet Minister late Darius Mbela for the last 20 years and have since invested millions of shilling to construct permanent houses.

According to the chairman of the squatters Shaban Luchesi, the demolished structures which included a church were on a 1000-acre land said to have been sold by Mbela’s family to a private developer known as Harish Patel.

“The bulldozers escorted by police officers descended on the area at 3am and without notice pulled down our houses,” said Luchesi.

He said in 2013 a court ruled that 100 cares set aside for squatters after petitioning on the ownership of the land adjacent to Tiwi River.

“They did not give us any notice or show a court order regarding the demolition. This place is our only home,” added Luchesi.

Another affected squatter Fatuma Bakari Bundo said her house was demolished, while sleeping with her four children.

“Some of us are still servicing bank loans we took to construct our houses, said Bundo.

Kwale Senator Issa Boy who visited the area and condemned the demolition saying he will take up the matter with the Senate Committee on Land.

Boy also said he will seek intervention with the relevant government departments saying the demolition was done in inhumane manner.

“How do u demolish all these houses during this economic hardship period as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic?’’ posed the visibly angry Senator.

He said it was wrong to carry out the demolition during curfew hours, which has also exposed the affected families to coronavirus.

The newly elected Msambweni Member of Parliament Feisal Bader also visited the area and condemned the demolition.

Bader accused those behind the demolition of protecting the interest of an individual at the expense of hundreds of families.

The legislator vowed to take the matter to court next week and asked the squatters not to vacate the area until the issue is resolved.

By Mohamed Hassan

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