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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Woman, 70, violently evicted from farm Kakamega

A 70-year-old woman is likely to spend her sunset days in great pain after she was violently evicted from a farm she has managed for 40 years.
The tenancy of Julia Mmbone Mahonga at her brother’s farm was abruptly ended by her in-law and children conniving with people masquerading as human rights activists to enforce a bogus eviction order.
Goons believed to have been hired descended on the home of Mmbone in the wee hours of February 26, and pulled down her house throwing out all property leading to the loss of others. The woman is now sleeping in squalor.
The incident happened at Nangili township, Kongoni location in Likuyani subcounty of the larger Kakamega county.
The victim said that she has been living on the farm since 1975. “My own brother requested me to move in and help manage his 27-acre farm on his behalf soon after separating with my husband in 1972. This is how I found my way on this farm for the last 40 years,” She narrated. 
“I secured employment as a matron, but my brother begged me to drop the offer and instead move to the farm as his manager but little did I know that one day, I would end up homeless in the hands of people I helped to raise with my blood and sweat,” she said while trying to restrain herself from breaking down.
Speaking to Weekly Citizen on the farm in the company of her only daughter, Joyce Mbade, the frail looking woman claimed that her brother Donald Mahonga Amadi who prior to his death in 1999 had promised to settle her on the farm or give her an alternative home.
She said even after her brother passed on, she continued to manage his business at the farm until 2013 when his wife Peris Andisi eventually surfaced and started the process of evicting her from the farm with the assistance of her sons.
She tried to seek assistance from a human rights group based at Soy market roadblock who promised to assist her be settled at a place of her choice.
The  activists went ahead to  summon all the parties in the matter to arbitrate leading to the drafting of  an  agreement that proposed the resettlement  of the complainant on a two-acre farm at a place of her choice.
 The agreement is dated January 15 2015 was not honoured. It was signed between the complainant and the deceased’s son Samuel Musalia Mahonga and another family member,    Susan Lihalwa Ndoli on behalf of their mother,  Peris Andisi Amadi.
Pius Talam, David Ondolo and Dennis Koech signed for the purported human rights organisation.
The exercise was to be completed in 90 days. However, before the expiry of the period, she claims, the human rights officials later turned against her.
The activists are alleged to be behind a letter purporting to have been drafted by a law firm giving the victim notice to vacate the farm she was occupying “illegally”.
Nyasiemo and Company Advocates based in Eldoret said to be acting on behalf Andisi issued a seven-day notice to Mmbone  to vacate the premises or the structures be demolished after a legal suit against her.
However, Mmbone claims no such suit was instituted and instead the notice was delivered by hand through the Soy human rights group a day before the house was demolished by hired goons.
The notice dated February 17 2015, and a copy of which is in our possession had however no reference number. It said in part: “take notice that failure to adhere by the terms given we will have no objection but to proceed to demolish the structures which are on the farm”.
This lawyer’s alleged letter is believed to have been illegally used to demolish the woman’s house without a valid court eviction order as required by the law.
Efforts to have the matter resolved through the deputy county commissioner’s office have not been successful. Mmbone said the other parties skipped a meeting with the deputy commissioner John Ayienda last week.
She said Ayienda did not even listen to her grievances and instead told her to move to court, despite earlier agreeing to assist through arbitration.
The deputy commissioner had summoned the warring parties to his office last through a letter LIK|LND|19VOL.V|115 dated in February.
Kongoni chief Paul Makete wrote to the OCS Matunda to take action after the officers at Nangili Police Post failed to assist her despite reporting the case to them.
In the chief’s letter, a copy of which is in our possession, Makete states that one Sammy Mahonga and other unknown people broke the house and threw personal items out demolished her house claiming had an eviction order from the court which was false.
The chief in the letter dated February 24 2014 also informed the Matunda police that Mmbone had also been threatened that he would be killed by the attackers.
Several days down the line, no one has been arrested and charged with any offence. The  victim of demolition, however, said police visited and promised to summon the human rights activists but since then, nothing has happened.
She is now appealing to the area MP Enock Kibunguchy, the government of Uhuru Kenyatta, Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya and the Kenya Human Rights Commission to come to her aid and take action.
She said the woman who had evicted her had separated with her husband many years ago and therefore she did not have any legal demands on the late husband and his family.
She told Weekly Citizen that she has been living on the farm and managing the farm honestly and that the lady who claims to be wife of the deceased has never lived on the farm but lives in Nandi county where she has established her home.
She claims she has the legality to the land and that she has legal rights to be settled on the land after living on the farm the rest of her life.
She says she has not known any other home since she was moved the farm and what she is demanding is that she be settled as per the agreement with his late brother and in accordance to existing laws on tenancy.