Haji demands Sonko records statement over missing people in Kilifi

By Reuben Mwambingu On Mon, 3 Feb, 2020 16:51 | 3 mins read
Noordin Haji
DPP Noordin Haji at the opening of the Kilifi Social Justice Centre on Monday, February 3, 2020. PHOTO | ODPP

Embattled Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko could find himself in yet another chapter of tribulations after Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji directed police to record a statement from him over allegation of land grabbing and other injustices in Kilifi County.

Haji further ordered police to furnish him with files of a land dispute case in which the governor has been adversely mentioned.

This is after the DPP met with locals during the opening of the Kilifi Social Justice Center in Mtwapa on Monday, February 3.

Families evicted from the disputed 230-acre piece of land in Majengo Kanamai told the DPP that the governor should be questioned over the disappearances of people in the area over the land tussle.

One of the victims of the injustices who testified, Beatrice Osino, told Haji that her late husband Moses Charo Pombe reportedly died after spending four years hiding in the bush because the Nairobi governor had allegedly threatened him.

“My husband is dead. He died last year in the process of following up on this land case. Because of the land case, I was left a widow with five children. His brothers were hijacked and we don’t know their whereabouts up to date. We need the government to intervene and help us,” Osino said.

“Police have been on our necks always. They have been using tear gas canisters and destroying our homes whenever they come…My husband had been under constant threat. He had been receiving calls from unknown people who threatened to kill him.”

Another victim, Cathrine Wangeci, said her husband who was also pursuing a land case was hijacked by unknown people and has since disappeared.

“He was in a matatu on his way home from Shanzu Law Courts for mentioning of the ongoing land case alongside a colleague when people believed to be police reportedly forced them to alight,” she said.

The two were then hounded into a car that had four occupants and were never seen again.

As a result, the DPP demanded to see the files in person and further directed Kilifi County police boss to ensure that all individuals mentioned in the case have recorded statements.

“I have listened to the cases and I think that I will personally follow up… I want that file with me by Wednesday. And I want statements from all those mentioned in the cases. It doesn’t matter whether they are prominent individuals or not… If the files come to me without the statements, you should be prepared to give me proper reasons,” the DPP said.

While expressing dismay at the wanton land grabbing and sheer violation of human rights in the area, the DPP blamed widespread corruption for growing impunity.

He further faulted deep-rooted corruption in the Judiciary for frustrating administration of justice in the country.

“It is disturbing how the public suffers these injustices at this rate, their land being grabbed left right and center, children being raped and their rights violated from every direction. It is because of corruption that such cases are happening,” he said.

While assuring that the office of DPP will strive to follow up the cases and ensure justice is delivered, he cautioned the public to be wary of forces of corruption fighting back.

“All these cases are because of corruption. Although we have made our own arrangements as ODPP to try and reach the public, forces of corruption have always resisted. They are even in courts and that is why we are wondering how the corrupt are being allowed to pay the bond in installments,” he said.

Coast-based human rights lobbies, led by Haki Africa and Institute for Land Governance and Human Rights (ILGHR), have highlighted myriads of violations in Kilifi and noted that the area was leading with cases of land injustices.

“In all the six counties at the Coast, Kilifi is worst-hit by land injustices…out of a total of 187 cases of human rights violation reported in 2019, 53 land cases were from Kilifi,” said Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid.

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