Kaya Elders in the Coastal region have called out the Judiciary to address historical land injustices being the reason many of them are being killed.
The Malindi District Cultural Association (MADCA) elders pointed their gun at the Environment and Lands Court to speed up the Cases of land in the region.
They claim such cases are major contributing factor to the massive elderly killings on false allegations of being witches.
Elders said it was sad state of affairs in the Coastal region that innocent elders were murdered by youths as a result of land.
They made the remarks outside Pwani University in Kilifi ahead of the official opening ceremony of the National Environment and Land Conference to commemorate the 10th anniversary and to discuss the major achievements and constraints in the execution of the court’s mandate.
President William Ruto and the Chief Justice Martha Koome are expected to open the conference.
They flashed banners marked “my elder my Beacon” while dressed in full traditional regalia the Kaya elders blamed the killings of the elderly on bad land policies that do not protect the elderly.
According to them innocent elderly persons in Kilifi have been butchered with more living in fear.
“Many are living under threat for allegedly practicing witchcraft but we know the main cause of the killings is nothing but land. We want president Ruto to intervene so as to save us,” they appealed.
Malindi District Cultural Association chair Emmanuel Mnyaya said that investigations have found out that elderly killings were as a results of land dispute which is a major concern for them.
“The killings were high in the past few years. We could lose 9 to 10 elders in one week but now the numbers have gone down to three per week. We do not have exact data of the elderly being killed but in 2012 we got statistics of that year which indicated that 490 elderly were murdered in cold blood,” he said.
UTU coalition that comprises of 35 hunan rights groups and civil society organisations raised red flag saying that they had to come together to support the elderly generation after Mnarani killing of four women in Kilifi last year October.
One of the representatives Dr. Kerubo Abuya said that they have been walking together as a group to seek justice and advocate for change in Kisii and Kilifi.
“Old women and Widows in Kisii are being murdered after being accused of being witches but we are aware the core problem is land. We continue to support the community in Kilifi. These are gross injustices and human rights violations, we want to ask the court that is sitting today, the environmental and lands Court to take these land cases very seriously,” she said.
She noted that among those who were present were elderly living in the rescue center because their lives were in danger over false allegations of witchcraft that were being run by MADCA.
Due to violence planned by their families she said that many of the elderly have been chased from their homes.
“We have many pending cases in court that have not been resolved and therefore we want to tell this court to make sure that these cases are addressed and that these people who are now displaced, some of them already dispossessed of their land can get justice and be able to go back to their homes,” she said.
President William Ruto, governors, MPS, and MCAs have been asked to take the matter of elderly killing seriously as people were being killed over false allegations of witchcraft in Kisii, Nyamira and Kilifi.
Joseph Karisa Mwarandu the Secretary of MADCA said they had a special message for the ELC@ conference to note that youths are finishing the elderly because they want to inherit property specifically land before the elders die.
He said the problem has caused a lot of tension because elderly people are being butchered like animals.
“Youth have lost moral values they do not respect elders and do not find their value that’s why they kill them in cold blood that’s why we say elders are strong pillars of society,” he said.
He said that the judiciary is supposed to resolve the historical land injustices as the majority of the locals are squatters on land owned by tycoons.
Mwarandu said that one who stays as a squatter on land for more than 12 years rightfully gets ownership of the land through advance possession but in the Coast region when the matter goes to court the matter is not taken strongly because the land owners are the ones that have money.
He added that cases of witchcraft killings take too long and most investigations are not done properly with suspects ending up being released .
“The court takes matters of defilement with a lot of weight but matters of elderly killings are taken lightly if they could apply the same weight to the elderly killings the issue could be addressed,” he said.
Sikubali Nyoka a village elder from Madunguni who also is a kaya elder said killings are rampant in her area of elderly accused of being witches and it was worrying.
Nyoka said the killings are not as a result of witchcraft but the land was the cause as the youth wanted to inherit the land and sell it to buy bodaboda.