High Court halts the eviction of 400 people from disputed Utawala land
Machakos High Court has stopped the eviction of 400 people involved in a tussle over the ownership of a 20-acre prime land in Utawala area of Mavoko, Machakos county, pending determination of the suit.
In the suit, Mary Ruguru Njoroge alleges that people operating under the name 'Native Winners' have invaded her family property and thus wants them evicted.
However, the group has claimed they purchased the property from her late husband Njoroge Wainaina over two decades ago.
Justice Oscar Ongote also extended an injunction issued in March against Njoroge, who is the defendant in the case, restraining her or her agents from trespassing and damaging any structure in the disputed property until the case pending in the court is heard and determined.
The petitioners, through lawyer Thomas Kabaka, decried harassment by goons who invaded the property purportedly under the orders of the defendant.
“My clients are deeply concerned about a recent development where hired goons enjoying the company and protection of armed police officers have harassed and attempted to evict them from their homes. They are now living in fear of being harmed or even killed,” Kabaka told Justice Angote.
In a sworn affidavit, Daniel Kinyanjui — one of the homeowners — said members of Native Winners were not occupying the land illegally as alleged by Njoroge.
“I am apprehensive if the defendant is not restrained by the court she will proceed and carry out the purported eviction to our detriment and we will stand to suffer irreparable loss,” Kinyanjui said.
Last year, Njororge asked the group to vacate the land claiming the property was registered under her name.
She also demanded that the homeowners immediately stop any further activities or trespassing on the land and remove any buildings and other improvements which have been erected. She warned failure by the occupants to comply with the notice will lead to eviction.
Justice Angote directed that the restraining orders be complied with, failure to which the defendant will be cited for contempt of court. The ruling will be delivered on February 14, 2020.