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Mijikenda Elders Defend Kingi Over Land Injustices 

Mijikenda elders in the Coast region have defended Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi and three Kilifi legislators over their alleged infamatory remarks on historical land injustices early this year.

The elders faulted the National Integration and Cohesion Commission (NCIC) for summoning and grilling the leaders, a move they claimed was meant to intimidate them and prevent them from commenting on injustices that had left locals landless.

The NCIC summoned Kingi and legislators Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Owen Baya (Kilifi North) and Michael Kingi (Magarini) over the remarks, and grilled them for several hours on Monday this week over the remarks made on Madaraka Day.

The angry elders drawn from the nine Mijikenda Kayas convened a press conference in Malindi Wednesday to express their dismay at the turn of events, maintaining that the leaders were innocent since they were speaking issues that were already on record.

They threatened to rally locals into rejecting the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report if it will not address historical land injustices at the Coast, which they said was the genesis of the squatter menace.

“We urge the NCIC to stop intimidating our leaders over the issue of historical injustices,” said Hamisi Juma from Kaya Digo. “Why is the commission calling a leader championing for the rights of his people an inciter?”

Mzee Juma said the elders would convene a meeting to discuss BBI report “and if we find it does not address historical injustices, then we will reject it.

He said the issues raised by the governor and the three legislators had been raised in various reports, including the Njonjo and Ndung’u reports, and that highlighting them could not amount to incitement.

”We are surprised there were more than four commissions talked about the key problem of land that has affected the region and the leaders are merely highlighting the plight of their people,” he said.

Mr. Tsuma Nzai, an elder and the director of the Magarini Cultural Centre, said what Kingi said on Madaraka Day had already been clearly articulated in the various reports.

He said historical land injustices had led to evictions of indigenous Coastal people from their ancestral land and talking about  the rampant  demolition of houses in the county should not be viewed as subversive.

Nzai  said the land question should be addressed through the BBI as it would resolve the injustices and end the suffering of thousands of residents.

Immediately after the grilling, Kingi said people must be told how the historical injustices unfolded if a permanent solution to land problems is to be found.

“You will find all that I talked about is  in history books. For us to move forward, we must highlight this history. On that day, I just gave a history of why some people do not have land at the coast,” he explained.

By Emmanuel Masha 

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