Huge sigh of relief as 10,000 title deeds set to be issued in Murang’a
When President Ruto visited Murang’a last October and said his government would streamline land ownership wrangles and empower realtors to use their parcels of land as factors of production, area administrators took note.
Now landowners in the county are set to get 10,000 title deeds in local land cooperative societies.
In a speech at the Karugia Secondary School grounds on October 30, Water Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome said the area had land ownership challenges that needed to be unlocked, urging the President to come to the people’s aid.
"We cannot waste this opportunity to express Murang'a’s unconditional support for you. Our voting for you is our testimony. We have a lot of faith in you that you will help our shareholders get title deeds," Ms Wahome said.
We were specifically challenged since among the lands that the President was briefed about was the 58- year-old Kagaa Cooperative Society’s shareholders".
The President said he was relying on land ownership security to roll out food security and low cost housing projects,” outgoing Murang’a County Commissioner Karuku Ngumo told Nation.Africa.
The President said he anticipated to roll out at least 2,000 housing units in every major town of the county, saying “it can only happen if we secure land ownership and carry along the people in public participation drives”.
Kagaa Society owns two farms in Murang’a County — Kabuku Estate, measuring 500 acres and the 2,000-acre Santamore Estate.
The shareholders also have a plantation measuring 4,167 acres in Kilifi County but they were evicted in the 1992 clashes and are yet to be resettled.
Mr Ngumo said talks are on at the national level to look into the matter “and the rightful owners need not panic since President Ruto’s government has expressly committed itself to righting all the mess in the land sector”.
Mr Ngumo said the county is in the process of pursuing “not less than 10, 000 title deeds for land cooperative societies as well as reclaiming more than 1,000 acres of grabbed public land”.
He said the programme will mostly be concentrated in Ithanga/Kakuzi, Kandara, Kiharu and Maragua where most of joint land ownership challenges are embedded.
Mr Ngumo said that within four months, “we are now happy to report that we have unlocked the Kagaa Cooperative land ownership issue and we are in the process of issuing 3,000 title deeds to shareholders”.
The president has been postponing his date in Murang’a to launch low cost housing at Makenji in Kandara sub-county.
Mr Ngumo said other societies like Kihiu Mwiri and Muthanga Farm are being addressed while “criminal undertakings in Kabuku Sasa Cooperative society, where unsuspecting investors have been swindled money” have been crushed.
Mr Ngumo said that multi-agency team that brings together Office of the President, state department of Cooperatives, land registry, National Land Commission, the Titling Centre, surveyors, planners, County government, elected leaders and ranching managements came together to effect the President’s directive.
Murang’a South Deputy County Commissioner Mr Gitonga Murungi thanked the President for his continued commitment to securing land ownership for the benefit of area people.
“It is through his publicly declared commitment to issuing title deeds to our people that we were able to within four months succeed in unlocking the process in Kagaa cooperative society that had known nothing else but uncertainty for over 58 years,” he said.
“The shareholders are so happy to a point that they have committed themselves to set aside land to put up a police post as well as a primary and a secondary school. Within six months, we will have concluded the process of titling,” he said.
Embakasi Ranching Company Ltd, which also has land in Murang’a and Kiambu counties, thanked the President for his expression of commitment to titling.
“We have had governments since independence and they only fueled acrimony in the ranches. President Ruto has taken over government at a time land fraud was at its peak in Mt Kenya region and we are happy that there is hope now,” said the company’s chairman, Mr John Njoroge.
He said shareholders have been losing their shares in machinations that involve corrupt politicians, security officers, businessmen, brokers and surveyors.
“This habit of taking Kenyans in circles for no apparent reason other than that of stealing from them is a culture that will never develop this country. We have shareholders in Mt Kenya who own a cumulative estate worth more than Sh100 billion but cannot use it for developing the nation and themselves since a group of people want to grab most of it,” he said.
He said Embakasi ranching, Kihiu Mwiri and Mbo-I-Kamiti estates are a testimony of how a government gone rogue can fuel wanton theft of land.
Mr Ngumo said security agents will keep off the affairs of area ranches and their participation will only be limited to offering logistical and coordination support.
“We do not want our officers to drag the name of the government into corrupt activities in these ranches. All from our agencies who will be adversely mentioned in any wrongdoing will be investigated and punished,” he said.
He said his office will coordinate implementation of government’s directives regarding shareholders and also midwife a titling process that is fair and transparent.