How my husband’s employer took advantage of our poverty to grab our land

Mystery of Chief’s Camp which has cost us land
October 12, 2020

In her late 60s, Joyce Oyugi envisioned a quiet sunset life. But this was never to be, as she lives a worried woman not sure of her safety in her own home in Sirongo village, in Rambula, Ugunja Sub County. Her greatest fears emanates from her the person who ought to have provided her with the needed safety and security; area MCA BenardOdero.The bone of contention is land which she has all along known to belong to her late husband Musa Aketch.

According to MsOyugi, her husband had worked as a watchman in the home of the MCA for close to 30 years.“At first my husband worked in his home, then he was moved to Odero’s business premise, where he worked until he was too old to continue,” said MsOyugi.She claims that at one point, MrOdero gave her husband a cow in what is known in the dialect as ‘moso’ (giving a domestic animal to a confidant to care for).

Just as mzee was about to retire from his watchman job, MsOyugi said she noticed Odero planting some bananas in part of her family parcel number UHOLO/RAMBULA/691.“When I inquired from my husband, he told me that was a land reclamation strategy as the area appeared as a swamp and that the bananas would help in draining the water,” she said.But she discovered that the title deed of the land was missing, only for her to discover that Odero had it, only to return it as mzee was approaching his death.

And when mzee died in the late 1990s, MsOyugi said Odero begun to fence off another parcel and planted trees.When she inquired, she said Odero promised to compensate the parcel by building her some kiosks at Rambula market which she could rent out to earn some money for upkeep.“I gave in to the idea, but days turned into weeks, and into months and into years and the promise was not being fulfilled,” she said. It was at this time that MsOyugi returned to MrOdero and demanded her land back.Despite Odero allowing her to continue tilling the land, she claims she discovered that the land had been subdivided and part of it taken away.

She claims that when mzee was sick, Odero, who is now the area MCA approached him, and tricked him to give him his identity card, which Odero claimed was to be used in processing for some insurance for the old man. MsOyugi suspects this may be the time Odero took advantage to subdivide the land and transfer part of it to his name.

“My husband and Odero are cousins, and I do not understand how Odero, knowing very well that we are from a humble background and had ten children, could still claim that my husband sold him part of the land, to make it worse, without the involvement of any family member, not even me,” she said.

MsOyugi who now has three children left after the death of the others, now want review of the transfer of the land so as to enable her children and orphaned grandchildren get justice.

Joyce’s contacts: 0700603893

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