Activists Move to Court Over Raila’s Tree

  • A tree that was planted by Orange Democratic Party (ODM) leader Raila Odinga is the subject of a court case pitting activists and a beverage company.

    The activists moved to court seeking its intervention after a truck belonging to the said beverage company hit and destroyed the sacred tree which Raila planted seven years ago at the Homa Bay Posta Grounds.

    The activists want the court to have the company facilitate Raila’s travel to Homa Bay to plant another tree which they say is of significance to the community.

    Homa Bay Tree

    Activists Michael Kojo (left), Walter Opiyo (centre) and Evance Oloo on March 24, 2021 at the spot at Posta Grounds in Homa Bay town where a fig tree was planted by ODM leader Raila Odinga in 2014. They have sued Coca-Cola Company, alleging that its car ran over the tree in 2017 and destroyed it.

    Daily Nation

     According to activists Evance Oloo, Micheal Kojo, and Walter Opiyo, the trees whose cost is estimated to be Ksh 68,000 and locally known as Bongu should be planted at the same spot where the last one was before it was destroyed.

    Reports indicate that on March 25, 2017, a Toyota pickup belonging to the beverage company accidentally crushed the tree while reversing an act that has since received criticism from locals.

    After the accident, the ODM supporters who used to water the tree reported the matter to the Homa Bay Police station.

    The case which was filed at the Environment and Land Court in Migori County on Tuesday, March 23, shows that the trees under traditional beliefs must be respected and handled with care.

    The case is set to be heard at the Environment and Land Court on June 21.

    Reports indicate that after the destruction, the beverage company attempted to replace the tree by planting another one, but residents were not impressed.

    Two weeks after the tree was destroyed in 2017, Kenya Forest Services (KSF) were called to estimate the monitory value of the tree who concluded that it was Ksh68,000.

    The former prime minister planted the tree on August 2, 2014, during his political tour in Homa Bay town as he welcomed the devolved government.

    The significance of certain types of trees amongst Kenyans is well known, with many associating them with signs of good luck.

    Mugumo tree known as Ficus Sycomorus is considered sacred in Central parts of Kenya, with its destruction often signifying catastrophe.

    File image of the Kenya supreme court

    File image of the Kenya supreme court


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