Kajiado plot owners oppose issuance of new lease titles

Hamilton Persaina

Kajiado County Lands CEC Hamilton Persaina displays a title deed and other land documents from several group ranches in Kajiado South Sub County.  

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

Plot owners and local leaders in Kajiado County have criticised a new title deeds deal by three private firms for town plots worth Sh1.2 billion. 

Last year, the lands department proposed the issuance of lease titles to at least 22,000 plot owners in the satellite towns in Kajiado County before roping in the National Land Commission (NLC) and the National Surveyors of Kenya.

Over the years, issues have emerged over the ownership of plots allocated by the defunct OlKejuado County Council.

The matter has been complicated by the issuance of multiple allotment letters. In the last five years, the county government has issued at least 30,0000 new allotment letters with special features to curb land fraud. 

Currently, the three firms have been erecting beacons in 37 towns in the county amid protests from plot owners who have accused them of doing shoddy work. 

According to a Memorandum of Understanding between the county and the firms, each of the 22,000 plot owners is required to pay Sh55,000 via a pay bill number to the consultants’ account either in full or in instalments.

However, a section of plot owners and local leaders claim the process is a well-orchestrated move to swindle plot owners.

Kajiado Plot Owners' Welfare Association has petitioned the county government to stop the process. The association’s secretary Mr Joshua Sapur claimed the process lacks transparency and legal backing. 

“The amount charged is exorbitant, plot owners are being forced to deposit money into a private account against the Public Finance Management (PMF) Act and the Kajiado Finance Bill," Mr Sapur said.

The group has also questioned the process in areas within Kajiado town where such a process was undertaken by the defunct Kajiado Town Council in the 1990s.

According to the documents seen by Nation, a private firm was contracted to carry out a survey and prepare paperwork for the issuance of lease titles for at least 700 plots within Majengo A, B and C sections between 1993 and 2006. 

The firm has already placed a caveat on the land, demanding Sh2,594,521,94 as per a letter dated February 18,  2010, to the defunct Kajiado Town Council.

Though the money was paid by the plot owners to the town council, the consultant was not paid.

In Kitengela town, most plot owners have faced ownership wrangles. County records indicate the town has 3,000 plots against 8,000 plot owners. Noonkopir estate has so many multiple allocations.

Ms Damaris Kamau, 80, told Nation that the titling fee was too high. 

“Most of us are poor, we came to this place in the 1970s when it was a swampy area," she said.

Kajiado Senator Samuel Seki accused the county government of surrendering plot owners to land wheeler dealers for manipulation and called on the Ethics And Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the issue.

Kajiado Central MP termed the process as fraudulent.

"This is a scheme to defraud the public. We know the architects and we shall resist the scheme," he said.

However, Kajiado County Lands Executive Mr Hamilton Parseina insisted the process was transparent saying the consultants were professionals capable of undertaking the task.

“The county does not have the financial muscles to undertake the exercise. Plot owners will save on money and time needed to complete the process.  No one will be forced to pay," Mr Parseina said adding that lease titles were more beneficial compared to allotment letters in the possession of plot owners.

He said he was not aware of the land caveat imposed by a private firm against Majengo estates over unpaid dues by the defunct Kajiado Town Council.