Meru land crisis takes deadly turn
IGP forms probe team
By Happy Lazaro and Staff reporter
Invasion of large scale farms in Meru took a deadly turn last Saturday when a villagers attempt to seize a large scale farm left one person dead and several injured.
Villagers from Poli and Seela Sing’isi in Meru district invaded Mito Miwili Farm owned by Pulses and Agro Commodities Company but armed guards fought them off leaving one person Noel Godson (32) from Sing’isi Ward dead after being shot. Another person Godlove Laeli (24) also suffered gunshot wounds and he is admitted at the Mount Meru regional hospital.
Arusha’s Regional Police Commander Thobias Andengenye confirmed the incident which happened on the night of April 28 adding that the about 40 invaders armed with bows and arrows, bush knives, double edged simes, spears and axes destroyed several items in the farm.
A wave of farm invasions has hit Arumeru district where there are about 20 large scale farms
owned by investors. Above villagers of Maroroni and Maji ya Chai listening to Arusha Regional
Commissioner Magessa Mulongo (not in the photo) who last week urged them to
stop the criminal actions. (Photo by Filbert Rweyemamu)
They set fire on four tractors and a storage house that had fertilizers and an assortment of seeds. As they wrecked havoc to the properties, they also stole whatever they could lay their hands on. By the time we went to press the value of the property that had been destroyed or stolen had not been
Mito Miwili farm invasion by villagers is the third in less than one month. In recent days Dolly Estate in Maji ya Chai saw its gate and part of an electric fence ripped apart by hordes of neighbouring villagers claiming that land belonged to them. Also on April 22 armed villagers of Nduruma, Nkoanrua and Akheri invaded a farm belonging to Machumba Estate and attempted to divide it among themselves. The process was stopped by riot Police.
The invasions are blamed on political parties’ politicians who during their Parliamentary campaigns during the by-elections in April this year promised land to the landless, apparently eyeing large estates within Meru district.
Meanwhile, The Inspector General of Police, Mr Said Mwema has commissioned a special team to pitch camp in Meru District, investigating the ongoing wave of estate invasions .
The delegation, led by the assistant commissioner of police, Mr Issaya Mngulu has already started work in Meru in association with the Regional Security Committee. However Mr Mngulu did not devulge how many people will be forming his team.
After the recent polls in Arumeru-East constituency in Meru District, irate villagers have been breaking into large scale farms in the vicinity claiming that they were promised during the preceding campaigns that they would be given land.
“We are going to stay here indefinitely,” said Mr Mngulu, explaining that there is no limit to the number of days that the team is required to accomplish the task but will only leave once the problem has been solved.
Assistant Commissioner of Police who is in the team, Mr Engelbert Mkoko stated here that theirs will be a professional undertaking which is going to leave no stone unturned.
“There are speculations that the farms invasion are being incited by politicians but our team will decide if that is the case or there are other deep rooted motives,” said the Police officer.
Meru District has a total of 20 large estates belonging mostly foreign investors.
“Our investigations will go hand-in-hand with mass education, teaching and advising local residents in Meru not to take seriously all politics or politicians that drive them into riots and other acts of peace breaching,” said Mr Mkoko.
The IGP team comes into Arusha just a week after the Regional Commissioner formed his own investigating committee to work on the Meru farm invasions.