24th October 2019 marked a victorious end to an eight-month-long legal battle between community members in Taita Taveta through the Taita Taveta Human Rights Watch, and the Kenya Wildlife Service. In February this year, four community members (three women and one man) in Wundanyi were arrested and charged with incitement to violence and destruction of the property of Kenya Wildlife Services.
The arrests came after the community members protested the fencing off of their ancestral land where they have been living and farming on by the Kenya Wildlife Service. The four poor Kenyans could not afford the bail of KES 200,000 set by the court and they remained in remand for four days but their fellow community members came to their rescue. Members of the community in Wundanyi volunteered their title deeds for valuation so as to bail out their comrades.
The community working with human rights activists from the Taita Taveta Human Rights Watch reached out to Kituo Cha Sheria-Legal Advice Centre’s Mombasa office.
Kituo Advocates Allan Nyange and Zedekiah Adika immediately took up the matter and argued an application for bail which was reduced from KES 200,000 to KES 20,000 each. With the titles volunteered by other community members, the four were released on bond pending the court hearings. After over eight long months, justice was served yesterday as the Court dismissed the case against the four community members!
Meanwhile, the community has filed a matter at the Environment and Land Court (ELC) Mombasa to get their land back.
Kituo Cha Sheria (Kituo) is a human rights non-governmental organization committed to helping the disadvantaged, poor and marginalized people in Kenya access justice.
We will continue to empower the poor and the marginalized communities on their human rights and to create avenues for these individuals to effectively access and enjoy these fundamental entitlements; at the Coast and across Kenya.