The State has lifted a more than 20-year caveat on land on the fringes of the Mau Forest.
Lands Cabinet Secretary Zachariah Njeru made the revelation on Friday when he paid Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika a courtesy call.
“The government has lifted the caveat imposed on land in several parts of Nakuru County. This is in line with a directive issued early by President William Ruto,” said Mr Njeru.
“This is meant to enable residents of the affected areas to develop their land and use it to access financial institutions such as banks and microfinance entities to get loans that will enable them to engage in various development activities,” he added.
During the meeting, Mr Njeru and Ms Kihika deliberated on the way forward in land mapping and issuance of title deeds in the areas where the caveat has been lifted.
The areas that will benefit from the lifting of the caveat include Nakuru/Olengureone/Amalo, Nakuru/Olenguruone/Cheptuech, Olenguruone/Chepakundi,Olenguruone/Kiptangich and Nakuru/Olenguruone/Ambuske.
Ms Kihika thanked President William Ruto for keeping his word and lifting the caveat, which she said had left residents impoverished.
“I am delighted by the lifting of the caveat in parts of Kuresoi that had been ‘caveated’ erroneously. I thank President William Ruto for keeping his word. Over the years, the landowners could not develop or invest on their land because of the caveat,” she said. “We will continue working on the lifting of land caveats in Kiptororo, Tinet, Marioshoni and Mauche areas.”
South Rift leaders drawn from Nakuru, Kericho, Bomet and Narok Counties have been pushing for lifting of the caveat. Earlier in the year, they appealed to President Ruto to order the lifting of the caveat imposed more than two decades ago.
Last year, Njoro MP Charity Kathambi tabled the matter before the National Assembly, seeking the Lands ministry’s intervention. She wanted the Lands CS to indicate when the government will lift the moratorium on the issuance of title deeds in Nakuru, Kericho, Bomet and Narok. She has also sought an explanation on what steps the ministry is taking to fast-track the issuance of title deeds in Mau Narok, Mauche, Nesuit, Njoro, Lare and Kihingo wards in Njoro Constituency.
The caveat was imposed on various parts of the South Rift due to protracted land disputes as well a to stop illegal land transactions around Mau Forest.
Residents of Olenguruone and Kiptagich areas interviewed on Friday expressed optimism that they will now develop their parcels of land after years of suffering.
“Lifting of the caveats will enable landowners in various parts to access loans and other facilities to undertake development,” said Peter Koros a resident of Kiptagich.
According to the residents, the caveat was also responsible for hostility among communities.
“The affected areas remained undeveloped and thus causing unfair distribution of resources by both the national and county governments,” said Mr Charles Rotich from Kiptagich.
Moses Korir, a resident of Olenguruone, echoed the sentiments, saying inability to develop their land had seen them remain poor. Kuresoi South MP Joseph Tonui lauded the caveat lifting.
“Residents of the affected areas where the caveat has been lifted can now develop the land. They have lagged behind economically for many years. We thank President Ruto for directing that the caveat is lifted to safeguard the dignity of the residents,” he said.
“Landowners will now develop large swathes of land. Locals and registered companies will receive title deeds, enabling economic activities and access to financial institutions for development,” he added.
For several years, parts of Nakuru where the caveat had been imposed have witnessed vicious land disputes that sometimes turned bloody.