Chequered land dispute leaves 86-year-old widow at risk of eviction   

Dorsila Ajuoga, a widow involved in a prolonged 150-acres land tussle in Siaya County . Picture: Omondi Gwengi
Dorsila Ajuoga, a widow involved in a prolonged 150-acres land tussle in Siaya County . Picture: Omondi Gwengi

A strong feeling of despair and distress hangs heavily around the home. Shrieking sounds of birds give the home some air of comfort as calves and goats jump happily.

They seem to be the only ones enjoying better things that life can offer on this earth. The rest who include the sons and grandchildren of an 86-year-old widow are not enjoying.

The family of the late Mzee Owuor Oyuu, with more than ten households in Uloma Village, West Sakwa in Siaya County are crying foul over constant attacks and demolition of their houses over 150-acres land dispute.

Owuor’s widow, Dorsila Ajuoga who is staring at another attempt of eviction is appealing for justice.

Last year, armed youths torched the home and demolished more than 10 houses and destroyed property worth millions of shillings under the watch of police officers.

This was after one Isaac Osino obtained a court order allowing him to demolish the homes he claimed were built on his land.

Osino had taken them to court claiming that the 150 acre parcel of land belonged to him but the widow says that they are not aware of the root cause of the problem.

“We have been staying on this land since 1962. My husband who was the owner of the land was buried here in 1969 and I don’t understand why the neighbour who had not even been born by that time can decide to demolish our houses,” she lamented.

On July 22, 2014, Ajuoga sought leave of the court to file out of time a notice of appeal against the ruling of the High Court (Kaniaru, J.) delivered on May 8, 2014 in HCCC No. 63 of 1987.

In that ruling, the Judge dismissed with costs an application by the applicant and eight others in which they had sought orders that the decree arising from the judgment of the High Court given in the said case on July 21, 1993 was statute barred and therefore incapable of execution.

In that application, they had also sought an order that having been in continuous, uninterrupted and open occupation of the piece of land known as North Sakwa/Maranda /7 (the suit land), they had acquired title to it by adverse possession. The Judge dismissed both prayers of that application.

In a copy of the ruling that was seen and read by Reject, the applicant sought to appeal against the dispute between the parties had a chequered history.

It stated that the applicant and her group have all along claimed 50 hectares of the suit land which is registered in the name of the respondents’ late father Jackson Osino Oyoo (the late Osino).

In 1966, Odhiambo Owuor and two others entered the suit land which was occupied by the late Osino. The late Osino challenged that entry before a panel of 25 elders who ruled in his favour.

Ajuoga and her children are said to have allegedly refused to vacate forcing the late Osino to go to the Third Class District Magistrate’s Court at Bondo in 1967. On January 14, 1969, the court ruled in favour of the late Osino. The applicant and her group’s appeal to the Resident Magistrate’s Court at Kisumu were dismissed on July 18, 1972.

Their further appeal to the High Court on June 22, 1974 was also dismissed.

During the land adjudication in the area, the applicant and her group filed an objection before the Land Adjudication Objection Board but the same was dismissed on August 12, 1975 and on August 14, 1986 the suit land comprising 60 acres was eventually registered in the name of the late Osino.

Following the said dismissal of their appeal by the Resident Magistrate’s Court in 1972, Odhiambo Owuor and others were evicted from the suit land in 1973.

On March 7, 1987, Owuor and eight others armed with crude weapons invaded the suit land. The late Osino sought police assistance in vain. That forced him to file HCCC No. 63 of 1987 in which he sought their eviction.

The applicant and her group apparently counter-claimed and sought a declaration that they had acquired title to the suit land by adverse possession.

In a judgment delivered on July 21, 1993, the late Justice Mango dismissed the counter-claim and granted an eviction order against Owuor and his group.

That is what triggered Civil Appeal No. 41 of 1993 which Owuor and his group filed in this Court. The appeal was also dismissed in March 22, 1995.

Despite the decision, the applicant and her group are said to have refused to vacate the suit land forcing the legal representatives of the late Osino to apply for execution of the decree in HCCC No. 63 of 1987, the eviction of the applicant and her group.

“We also filed a notice of motion in which we claimed that the decree the legal representatives of the late Osino were seeking to execute was statute barred,” Samwel Dede, Ajuoga’s son said.

Dede, who now lives in fear of being evicted from their ancestral land, also claimed that Mr Osino has filed murder cases against them as a way of intimidating them.

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