County leaders, church top list of land grabbers in Kisii, Swazuri says

In a stunning revelation, Mr Swazuri said: "Leaders serving in the county had taken the lead in orchestrating land grabbing schemes."

Sunday February 28 2016

National Land Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri during a past event. Squatters in Lamu County are now closer to being resettled after the controversial Manda Settlement Scheme programme was launched. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

National Land Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri during a past event. Squatters in Lamu County are now closer to being resettled after the controversial Manda Settlement Scheme programme was launched. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MAGATI OBEBO
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Large pieces of land meant for key security installations in Kisii County have been grabbed.

National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Muhammad Swazuri said both police, National Security and Intelligence Service land had fallen into the hands of 'grabbers'.

Mr Swazuri further said portions of land for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (Iebc) and the county fire station had also been stolen.

Speaking in Kisii during the Kisii Entrepreneurship Summit, the NLC chief, however, warned that 'government bulldozers' will pitch tent in the county for a week from March 20 to 'kick the grabbers out of town and open space for investment."

In a stunning revelation, Mr Swazuri said: "Leaders serving in the county had taken the lead in orchestrating land grabbing schemes."

"I have never seen raw and daring greed anywhere as here. I had underestimated the problem of land here but now I know," said Mr Swazuri.

He said land meant for the construction of the county's fire station had been grabbed by a church.

"It doesn't add up that members of a church can grab land. All these developments will not see the light of the day when we come with bulldozers. In the week we will be here the whole town could have more space for investors" Mr Swazuri warned.

CONFRONT GRABBERS

He said for the country to have land for investment it must be able to confront grabbers and seize land they had grabbed.

"I have been passing around for the past five years and I can tell you that no such level of greedy is witnessed anywhere. And many of these grabbers are serving in the positions of authority," he said.

Mr Swazuri said a number of schools in the county hare reported difficulties in expanding because sections of their land had been grabbed.

He cited the Daraja Mbili Secondary School where a developer had set up a residential house inside the compound.

The Lands boss said such developers will be taken out when he returns to clear the town of grabbers.

"This is something we have never seen anywhere else and be sure we are going to recover it from March 20 when we come with bulldozers," said Swazuri.

He said they will work with the County governor to fight land grabbers.

"We have agreed that we are going to work jointly with the County, and the land officers here to ensure that all that land is repossessed," said the NLC chief.

Mr Swazuri said those in authority feared confronting the grabbers because they form the bulk of the political class.

"These people are well known but there is fear among those in authority to confront these grabbers and repossess the land. We are not going to rest until all these plots have been reclaimed,' said Mr Swazuri.

He also warned officers in the lands ministry who could be colluding in schemes meant to steal public land.

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