Three activists have sued beverage maker Coca-Cola for allegedly destroying a sacred fig tree planted by ODM party leader Raila Odinga seven years ago.
The three, Evance Oloo, Micheal Kojo, and Walter Opiyo, filed the case before Justice George Ongondo of the Environment and Lands Court in Migori.
They claim that the tree locally known as “Bongu” was destroyed on March 25th, 2017 after a pick-up truck belonging to Coca-Cola crashed into it while reversing.
The incident was reported at Homa Bay Police station under OB number 16/25/3/2017 by those who frequently watered the tree.
The petitioners want the court to compel Coca-Cola to facilitate Odinga’s travel to Homa Bay to plant a similar tree at the same spot.
Justice Ongondo set June 21st, 2020 as the hearing date for the case in which Coca-Cola Company Limited, Kisii Bottlers, and Almasi Beverages are listed as respondents.
Reports indicate Coca-Cola tried to replace the tree with another but residents rejected the move.
Raila planted the tree at Posta Grounds during a tour of Homa Bay County on August 2nd, 2014. His supporters believed the tree signified the end of political and economic doldrums in the region.
Among the Kikuyu community, the fig tree is known as “Mugumo” and is considered sacred. The tree used to serve as an altar for burnt sacrifices.