Elderly persons who have been residing at the Mekatilili wa Menza Cultural Resource Centre in Malindi town and were forced out have cursed a local tycoon behind the eviction.
They say from now on, the proud tycoon Japhet Shutu and his family members will never enjoy peace.
The about 20 elderly persons were accommodated at the centre after being rejected by their relatives on allegation of practicing witchcraft. Malindi District Cultural Association that has been taking care of them yielded to the tycoon’s pressure to have them vacate the premises.
Although the association was not thrown out of the place that used to be a showground, the tycoon built a perimeter wall around the centre according to Madca’s secretary general Joseph Mwarandu.
According to Mwarandu, the association has been occupying the disputed piece of land for more than 16 years knowing it was government land since the place used to host the Malindi Harambee Show.
“We are leaving but without making noise, because we don’t know where we shall keep these elderly people who have been rejected by their relatives,” Mwarandu said, adding that the association had acquired its own land in Sabaki but had not put up any structures.
He said that there was a ploy to grab the entire 24-acre parcel of land that used to be a showground and called for investigations to stop the grabbing of public land.
He expressed fear that hundreds of palm wine sellers and food kiosk operators at the famous Mbuzi Wengi area would also be evicted as the tycoon was busy constructing walls around their stalls.
Kazungu wa Hawerisa, the association’s spiritual leader cursed Shutu alias Janja, who had given the association a notice to vacate and immediately started erecting a stone wall surrounding the centre.
Shutu ordered the demolition of a church and evicted sick elders some bedridden. He said the Madca was expecting to receive traditional artifacts recently brought by the government from Britain for preservation but wondered where such items would be kept.
He said the centre was being used by university students to conduct research on the cultural practices of the Mijikenda.
Shutu entered into a lease agreement signed by 38 members of Madca, including Mwarandu and the association’s chairman, Emmanuel Munyaya on January 20 2015, where the association was to pay a monthly rent of Sh5,000.
“It has emerged that since they entered into the lease agreement in 2015, the association has failed to pay me a single cent and were given a six-month notice to vacate the land, especially after Mwarandu started accusing me of hosting mnazi sellers who operate beyond hours and that I had not built toilets for them,” said Munyaya.
The notice was issued by Richard Otara and Company Advocates dated June 26 2018, giving the association six months to vacate the premises.
He clarified that the entire 24 acres belonged to him and that the government had asked to use it for a showground.