What you need to know:
- A report from the NLC shows that out of 3,743 claims currently under review, Coast counties make up 2,624 of the cases
- Kilifi County has 2,024 claims followed by Mombasa County with 228 claims, Kwale with 187 claims, Tana River with 127, Taita Taveta with 41, and Lamu County with 17 cases
- In Tana River County, leaders have appealed to the commission to cede more land from the irrigation schemes for the expansion of the towns
More than 65 per cent of land injustice cases in the country are from the Coast region, with Kilifi county accounting for over 2,000 cases reported to the National Lands Commission.
A report from the NLC shows that out of 3,743 claims currently under review, Coast counties make up 2,624 of the cases.
In an interview with journalists in Garsen during the Lands Injustices Dialogue, NLC Chairperson Gershon Otachi said the cases in the region have more weight compared to cases in other counties.
"They involve large communities, for instance in Tana River County, the claims touch government institutions like Kenya Wildlife Services, National Irrigations Authority, and Kenya Forest Service," he said.
He notes that in other areas, the claims involve individuals or smaller groups, hence easy to settle through simple mechanisms.
Kilifi County has 2,024 claims followed by Mombasa County with 228 claims, Kwale with 187 claims, Tana River with 127, Taita Taveta with 41, and Lamu County with 17 cases.
"We have started with Tana River County then we shall move to Kilifi County where we might take quite some time to ensure that we listen to everyone," said Mr Otachi.
He noted that the commission is not only holding forums to gather views but also to educate the public and inform them on areas not known to them.
In Tana River County, leaders have appealed to the commission to cede more land from the irrigation schemes for the expansion of the towns.
"When residents agreed to give land for irrigation farming, the population was very low. Today, it is thrice the number it was. We are congested in the small space we were left with four decades ago and we have to beg back the land we gave to NIA," said Hassan Dukicha, former Galole Member of Parliament.
His sentiments were reiterated by former Bura MP Nuh Nassir, who appealed for degazzetement of some areas that have been declared forest land to allow for settlement.
He noted that Kenya Forest Service is in the possession of hectares of land worthy of being called a forest in Bura Constituency, yet will not allow residents to develop the land.
"An entire 76 kilometers has been declared a forest land, residents are being harassed and are living like aliens in their country, that needs to be reviewed, we can have a land for people to settle and develop as well as have a forest generated by the people themselves," he said.
In Tana Delta, residents have called for an open dialogue over the pre-colonial parcels of land that have been settlements for locals for ages, and are currently being sold to secret agents.
They have reiterated the need for the NLC to physically visit the areas to get a real picture of the history of the families that face eviction by new owners.