NLC warns over 'grabbed' land around Lake Victoria

Tuesday February 9 2016

A boy throws his fishing line in Lake Victoria. The National Land Commission on Monday warned occupants of plots in riparian areas around Lake Victoria to vacate the premises before they are evicted. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A boy throws his fishing line in Lake Victoria. The National Land Commission on Monday warned occupants of plots in riparian areas around Lake Victoria to vacate the areas before they are evicted. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The National Land Commission (NLC) on Monday warned occupants of plots in riparian areas around Lake Victoria to vacate the areas before they are evicted.

NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri said such lands, lying within 60 metres of the shoreline, must not be allocated to anyone.

Dr Swazuri said the eviction will not consider the status of individuals who "own" the said plots.

He said whether the occupants are squatters or land grabbers, they were "thieves" as they had allocated themselves land that does not belong to them.

Dr Swazuri said the Land Act stipulates that riparian land remains for public use and could not be given to individuals.

“We have told such people to move in places such as Baringo and Naivasha. We are even happier that nature has always sorted the issue our when the lake’s level rise,” he said.

The NLC chairman spoke during the swearing in of members of the Kisumu County Land Management Board.

The board will be chaired by Ms Pauline Owoko, with members including Mr Aba Eban, Mr Francis Asuna, Mr Bernard Okoth, Mr Dickson McAnyango, and Ms Domitila Agati as secretary.

ILLEGAL ALLOCATIONS

“We task this new team to look into the illegal allocations and advise the commission on the recovery process,” Dr Swazuri said.

He said the commission was aware of many cases of fraud at the Land ministry offices across the country and would take administrative action against the perpetrators.

“We have already identified four notorious officers whom we will take action against; it is good that the relationship between the ministry and the commission is now very cordial,” the chair said.

Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma said the county would provide to the commission an inventory of questionable pieces of land in the county.

“We are happy that the board is installed today. This will end the politics of land which surrounds the matters of double allocation, fake titles and irregular allotments,” Mr Ranguma said.

Lack of land has been blamed for the low uptake of investments in the lakeside town, notably the delay in establishing a special economic zone.

“Kisumu was listed as one of the sites for establishment of special economic zones; the project has not taken off since we cannot get land covering 270 square kilometre,” the governor said, adding that the alternative of buying land has been difficult.