A 68 year old Kenyan widow of South African origin stares at eviction after losing a multimillion shilling Malindi beach property to Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga linked firm after decades of court battles.
Mrs Gail Unsworth now fears for her life after she lost the case and is now due for eviction from the disputed property located in Mayungu area in Malindi Sub-county, Kilifi County.
The mother of eight children told journalists that her late husband John Fraizer Unsworth bought the 8.4 acre prime parcel of land in 2007 and when they retired, they built six houses within the property.
However, trouble started after Mr Odinga who claims ownership of the land through KANGO ENTERPRISES LIMITED, got court orders to evict her from the prime beach property and her efforts to get justice went futile.
She added that Mr Odinga and his agents have been visiting her home since Good Friday while she was away asking the workers and one of her friends who is recuperating from a severe stroke to leave as they had court orders to possess the land.
On Sunday Mr Odinga again appeared at the property to talk to the lady only not to find her hence prompting him to invoke the court order.
Both Mrs Unsworth and Mr Odinga have title deeds for the property and while the former insists her husband bought the land from a local family, Mr Odinga too claims to have bought the land in 1997 from a resident.
The property is located at the controversial Chembe Kibabamche settlement scheme which has had disputes for years with cases of double allocations.
“In 2009, suddenly Mr Odinga came on the scene and said the property belongs to him,” said Unsworth, adding that an appeal court in Mombasa had overturned a high court ruling that declared the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party the owner of the land.
She added that her tribulations increased in 2016 after her husband’s death when Mr Odinga first appeared at the property without her permission.
“I went to South Africa in 2018 to have a Knee replacement and when I came back John’s certificate of the grant was issued at Malindi court and that same date I filed all the paperwork to have the title deed transferred under my name,” she said adding that when she went to the land registrar in Kilifi on February 2019, the then registrar refused to transfer the title deed to her name.
She said upon returning to Malindi court she found there was a court case filed by KANGO ENTERPRISES LIMITED claiming that court documents indicating that her husband had won the court cases disappeared.
She however stated that in August last year the court ruled in favour of Mr Odinga’s firm and her lawyer appealed the case and applied for a stay order.
“I have been living here for 15 years now and have been paying my land rates faithfully Sh. 55,000 per year, this year was virgin corals, two-meter walls, footpaths, over 800 trees, two houses, and two new houses which stopped after John was diagnosed with cancer,” she said.
Now she said Raila is threatening to go with bulldozers to evict her as she was away in Nairobi which forced her to come down.
Unsworth said she is concerned about her safety and her friend who stays in her guest house who suffered a severe stroke and fears that anything that might happen could cause another stroke.
According to Mrs Unsworth, her husband had told her to sell 3 .4 acres of the 8.4 acres so that she could use the money to live on but due to the court case it was difficult to sell it in 2019.
She said she threw the remains of ashes of her husband in the property in his memory and feels it’s not right to be evicted as the land belongs to her.
To her, she may accept to leave the property if she is given Sh. 180 million to go and live elsewhere.
In documents she revealed to journalists, Mr Odinga’s daughter and East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) Member of Parliament Winnie Odinga met her and offered to pay her Sh. 20 million to vacate but she refused due to undervaluation of the property.
When journalists arrived at the property on Wednesday afternoon, workers said Mr Odinga’s aides were holed up in a meeting with the widow.
A senior Principal Aide to Mr Odinga by the name John Mwai told reporters off the cameras that they had resolved with Mrs Unsworth to possess the property which belongs to the former prime minister.
Mr Mwai who is also a manager of KANGO ENTERPRISES LIMITED said that they had resolved in the meeting to give Mrs Unsworth time to vacate the property.
Already he said they had come with contractors and they intend to tarmac the road that leads all the way to the beach for the public.
“Everything is okay, we have come to execute court orders and the woman has accepted to leave and we have given her time to vacate, there is no cause for alarm,” he said.
Mr Mwai added that they were treating the widow with all the humanity she deserves to ensure she vacates peacefully with no forceful nature.