The Ilchamus community in Baringo is demanding justice over a court case they filed in 2006 against the state after a poisonous weed christened mathenge rendered their livestock toothless.
Elders from the community accused case handlers for ‘hiding’ files and delaying to give ruling to the case which has now spanned 10 years.
Ilchamus elders’ chairman, Kanyaman Lemeiguran, claims that five people have so far lost their lives while several others had parts of their bodies amputated after they were pierced by thorns of the poisonous plant.
The elders also performed rituals to curse those who might have caused the delay of the case, accusing lawyer Thomas Letangule – the proprietor of Letangule and Company Advocates – for “silencing the case and hiding the court files”.
Mr Lemeiguran said their efforts to look for the case files at a Nairobi Court were greeted with frustrations, which have added to their suspicions that someone may have “swindled our rights”.
Elder Amos Ole Mpaka called upon the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and human rights consortiums to intervene, saying that since Letangule was appointed commissioner of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in 2013, he went underground with the court files.
He further added that the lawyer was “joyriding on the residents’ high level of illiteracy” to push up the case to favour his own gains.
Ole Mpaka has asked for the case to be withheld until the entire community is consulted and their collective plight is incorporated into the case.
Commissioner Letangule has, however, downplayed the allegations leveled against him, saying members of his community are “out to tarnish his name out of malice.”
He further said the law allows anybody to individually take petition to court, saying he decided to mobilize his law firm to pursue the case in court, and he feels there is nothing wrong with it.
Report by Evans Kimaiyo.