Granny risks losing her land over a dispute running decades
Violence against women and girls cuts across all social strata and has no respect for age.
This is clearly demonstrated by the case of an elderly woman who may soon be rendered homeless following a land tussle dating way back to the colonial era.
The centenarian who is now 103 years says that they jointly inherited the land with her late husband, Mateo Thuuranira from a colonial officer nicknamed Ntirika in 1958.
Taracila Maiti, from Cio-Thiirai in Giaki division of North Imenti district in Meru County recounts that by then, the place was a settlement scheme. Scores of people were allocated land by the colonial government and directed to clear the bushes and fence their land with live fences.
However trouble started brewing after independence, when power was handed over to the Kenya Government. A former district officer, Jediel Nyagah was appointed by the government to preside over a committee that was established to facilitate further allocation of land in that area.
She says that the District Officer used his position as the person in charge of the land allocation committee to nullify previous allocations including forging documents to disinherit beneficiaries.
“This area was a settlement scheme and people were allocated land to settle here by the colonial government. It was a white officer called Ntirika who allocated me and my late husband this land and directed us to clear the bushes and fence our land,” recalls the disgruntled granny.
She further says that when they discovered that the late District Officer was determined to grab their land despite being cautioned by the local land committee, they sought help from the then Minister for Lands, the late Jackson Harvester Angaine.
Angaine intervened and the District Officer was sacked and thereafter stopped claiming the land.
“But this was just a temporary reprieve because after Angaine lost his political seat in 1992, the District Officer resurfaced in 1994 and started subdividing the land and leasing it. This time round, the family sought the help of the then North Imenti MP David Mwiraria, who intervened and the former District Officer was chased away.”
Later the former District Officer passed on and now his children are threatening to evict the granny together with her large family from the 25 acre piece of land.
Her son, Lazaro Thuuranira, who was about ten years when they settled on the disputed land, recalls with nostalgia that the place was so bushy and infested by wild animals like elephants, buffalos, gazelles, baboon and pythons among other wildlife.“When my parents were given this land, they embarked on clearing the bushes as directed by colonial chiefs. The area was so bushy that wild animals like elephants, buffalos, gazelles and baboons were many. There were many snakes among them huge pythons which could swallow a whole gazelle,” says Lazaro. He adds: “As children we could stay near our parents as we feared attacks by the wild animals. The animals relocated to other places towards the Meru National park.”
The elderly woman now wants the National and Meru County government to intervene and make sure she is not kicked out of the land by the family members of the late District Officer. She says that her children, grandchildren and great-grand-children will be rendered homeless if they are kicked out of the land.
“I request the National and County government to stop the other party from interfering with my land,” petitioned the centenarian.
The centenarian is a great-grand-mother to 54 great-grand-children; 27 grand-children and a mother of seven children, all of whom are faced with eviction from their 25 acre piece of land..