Oppression and harassment of the poor by the rich, influential political leaders and other big fish took the centre stage during the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission hearings in Meru.
Victims who expressed their grievances to the commission explained how various people had persistently harassed them and in the outcome taken all their land leaving them as squatters.
Among some of the most mentioned were political leaders like the Late Harvester Jackson Angaine, former and current MPs for Central Imenti Kirugi M’Mukidia and Gitobu Imanyara respectively and the former Director of the Coffee Board of Kenya Henry Kiogora.
The late Angaine was greatly mentioned for acting in favor of the Imenti people to the disadvantage of Tharaka and Tigania people when he was the Minister for Lands and Settlements.
While presenting the memorandum of Kiburine and Kwang’ombe alienated land victims representing more than five hundred people, Julius Muthengi Kirambia told the TJRC the Imenti and Tharaka boundaries were put in place in 1960 by the colonial government with the agreement of elders of Njuri Ncheke from all sub tribes.
“In 1971, demarcation was done but due to corruption, cunningness and tribalism led by the late Jackson Angaine who was a minister, title deeds were given to Imenti People replacing the names of Tharaka with those of Imenti”, said Muthengi.
He said the eviction process has been continuous up to date and has made them lack farming land, education, shelter, health and increase in squatters.
The two central Imenti leaders were adversely mentioned in the case of the former Field Marshall Baimungi M’Marete whose family had presented its agitation over their close to 1,000 acres in Timau.
Gitobu Imanyara is alleged to have ill advised the family to open a post office address box to receive correspondence and instead opened another box in their name which he redirected all the correspondence and took advantage of the family’s aid.
While making the family’s presentation Kiremi Baimungi who is a son of the late Field Marshall Baimungi said the former MP Kirugi M’Mukidia and Jackson Angaine grabbed part of their land and left them to be squatters on pubic land.
Three clans from Central Imenti explained how the former Director of Coffee Board of Kenya Henry Kiogora misused his post and took over their land.
While making the presentation of Kagwanja Clan, Gitonga Mbau said the former Director grabbed the land in 1978 and obtained a title deed of the 1,340 acres.
“It was during the KANU era and the then PS was bribed and easily gave out a title deed for our land to him. He did so for the other neighboring clans. The Ndung’u land report had even identified our land as one which was grabbed and given to separate owners”, said Mbau.
He explained how the clan had sought justice in various courts and recently the former director threatened to sue them for defamation for allegedly maligning his name yet he is a national public figure.
The environment was unbearable as women expressed their painful ordeals in the hands of their masters, husbands and as victims of the post election violence which made them to seek refuge Meru.
The TJRC was holding its sittings in the Meru Municipal Council Hall and the presiding Chairman Ahmed Farah said the commission will strive to ensure justice is done to all victims of injustice and other sought of oppression.
Other commissioners present were the acting chairperson Tecla Namachanja, Amb. Berhanu Dinka and Judge Gertrude Chawatama.