JUSTICE: The applicant in the matter works at the Machakos Law Courts, where the case he is involved in was being heard.
Area Senior Chief Daniel Kupai said he was not served with a copy of the court order as required by law.
BY LINET MINAYO
A family of 12 people in Ilpartimaru Group Ranch, Kajiado County, has been rendered homeless after a Machakos court ordered its eviction.
Justice Oscar Angote of the Environment and Land Court at Machakos issued the eviction orders on July 31 in favour of David Ntungani.
Ntungani, who was the plaintiff in the case, had sued Matuyia ole Naisuaku in suit number 150 of 2008 (O.S) for allegedly sitting on his parcel of land (72 hectares) in the group ranch.
Naisuaku was represented in the court case by lawyer Gideon Solonka, while Ntungani was represented by counsel Katwa Kigen.
Peter Matuyia (r) with his younger brother in Kitengela.
Solonka told Kajiado News Update that Justice Angote had given an earlier ruling in favour of Ntungani in the said case on May 12, 2017. His efforts thereafter to get copies of the ruling to appeal against it had been frustrated by the Machakos court, he said.
Ntungani, the applicant in the matter, works at the Machakos Law Courts, where the case he is involved in was being heard. Solonka said the 60-day window to appeal the case expired before he was issued with a copy of the ruling.
“I am still pushing for the same and will proceed to a higher court of appeal against that ruling. I am not satisfied that justice was served to my client,” said Solonka.
After Justice Angote issued the order, whose copy was not served to the defendant, Ntungani on the expiry of the seven-day-notice went and burnt down all of Naisuaku’s seven houses while the Namanga OCS watched.
“Although we had not been served the order, we honoured it and had removed all our livestock and children from the farm. After seeking refuge at the home of elder Moirra Oltetia, we came back on August 5 to remove the iron sheets and timber from the houses but we were shocked to find the houses on fire,” said Naisuaku.
Area Senior Chief Daniel Kupai said he was not served with a copy of the court order as required by law, and when he eventually saw it, he never saw anything to suggest that the houses should be burnt down.
“This is wrong because there was enough evidence that the old man had moved his children and livestock, and he was going back to remove iron sheets and timber but was not given a chance,” said the chief.
The chief also criticised the police officers who oversaw the burning of houses without protecting property.
When we sought comment from Ntungani, after we saw the order, he said he had instructions from his counsel, Kigen, not to talk to journalists.
“Ask my lawyer Kigen to comment on the order and what happened later,” said Ntungani on the phone.
He gave us Kigen’s telephone contact, which we have been calling for more than a week without any response.
Justice Angote in his order had stated that the defendant should give the plaintiff vacant possession of parcel land number Kajiado/Lorngosua/1298 within seven days of the court orders.
In default of giving vacant possession within this period, the defendant was to be evicted.
The judge also ordered the officer commanding station, Namanga, to assist in the eviction of the defendant from the said land parcel for purposes of order and peace.
Our attempt to seek comment on the phone from Kajiado Central Sub-County Police Commander Issa Muhummed did not bear fruit as he was unavailable.
Naisuaku’s son, Peter Matuyia, said the family reported the burning of their houses to police and was issued with OB 37/06/08/2019.
“The matter is with the police now as we expect justice. We lost property worth Ksh1.5 million to the fire on all the burnt houses,” said Matuyia.
The group ranch has 435 members under the chairmanship of Lemomo ole Ntenkese and his vice-chairman, Tupet ole Murre, who have pending land cases in court after a member complained they had sold his parcel of land.
A section of the members have also gone to court to stop subdivision of their land because they do not believe their leaders will do it fairly.
They have also accused the same leaders of working with Ntungani to seek orders of evicting Naisuaku from his land, where he had lived for more than four decades. Some of the group ranch members have protested an attempt by the officials to subdivide the land.
Matuyia claimed that some years back, the officials attempted to subdivide the land and gave themselves more than 500 acres each, while the rest of the members received as little as 29 acres.
“Our people went court to and the court stood by us, until they sneaked in another case that touches on the Namanga highway.