Uhuru plan to settle 1,300 squatters finally rolls out

Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney at a past event.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Each squatter shall be allocated land where they are currently living.
  • The CS said the Lands ministry is carrying out 23 programmes nationwide to ensure  every land is issued with a title deed.

Survey and adjudication of 91 acres at Mikanjuni in Kilifi, which the State bought for the landless, is in top gear, the Nation has learned.

The move is part of the President’s pledge to address land issues in Coast region, Ms Farida Karoney, the Cabinet Secretary for Lands said.

“When President Kenyatta visited this region in 2017, he promised to purchase this land and settle squatters,” she said adding:  “The land was purchased this year as per the presidential directive to settle 1,300 families.”

Ms Karoney, who spoke in Mikanjuni, was accompanied by Lands Chief Administrative Secretary Gideon Mung’aro, Kilifi South MP Ken Chonga, county Woman Rep Gertrude Mbeyu and Lands Executive Maureen Mwagovya. Each squatter, she said, shall be allocated land where they are currently living.

“There is no standard acreage for allocating the squatters and during the survey, we shall make provision for roads, passage ways and small public spaces such as churches and mosques,” the CS added.

Waiting for a date

She observed that the government, through the Rapid Response Initiative, intends to issue about 80,000 to 90,000 title deeds to squatters in the Coast region by the end of this year.

“Next month, we expect President Kenyatta to issue titles to squatters,” she said. “In Kilifi alone, we will issue 23,000 land ownership documents. Some 17,000 are ready at the land registry and we are waiting for a date to distribute them.”

The CS said the Lands ministry is carrying out 23 programmes nationwide to ensure every land is issued with a title deed.

“Only 50 per cent of land in the country has title deeds. President Kenyatta’s government is targeting to have at least two-thirds of Kenyans have titles by 2022.”

 The CS also told residents to value their land as an important resource and stop selling it cheaply only to end up as squatters.

“Coast region has a lot of multibillion-shilling projects coming up such as Lapsset, standard gauge railway and roads, which have increased the land value,” she said. Civic education was needed for people to know the value of a title deed in helping one access loans and do business.

The CS further noted that, it will be a loss to the government to issue title deeds free of charge [tax-free] to squatters only for them to sell the parcels.

Short-term gains

 Mr Mung’aro said there was need for county governments to come up with laws that will prevent people from selling their lands for short-term gains.

Earlier, the Kilifi South MP said Coast residents have waited for over 30 years to get titles. He thanked the President for fulfilling his promise to the squatters

slwanga@ke.nationmedia.com