Friday, September 13, 2013

A week later, villagers in Coast sell their land

President Uhuru Kenyatta giving out title deeds to Kilifi governor Amason Kingi at statehouse in Mombasa for squatters in his county 29/08/2013. Photo/Laban Walloga.

President Uhuru Kenyatta giving out title deeds to Kilifi governor Amason Kingi at statehouse in Mombasa for squatters in his county 29/08/2013. Photo/Laban Walloga. 

Just days after President Kenyatta distributed thousands of title deeds to the landless people at the Coast, some of the beneficiaries have sold their plots.

Land speculators have camped in Lamu and Mombasa scouting for sellers among the 15,000 villagers, who received the titles.

On Lamu Island, where over 2,000 titles were dished out, provincial administrators have reported a lot of activity in land transactions.

A chief in Lamu, who spoke to the Saturday Nation yesterday, confirmed that he had tracked up to six fresh land transactions involving the newly-issued titles in Boru and Bahamisi. The area residents were “already midway with their plans of selling their pieces of land while majority are warming up to the idea,” he said. “On further interrogation, they blamed the tough economic conditions, especially in Pate,” the administrator said.

The chief, however, plans to hold a meeting with the Lamu Lands Registrar on Monday to discuss how to stop the sales.

In Manda Island, an assistant chief, Mr Mohammed Yusuf Suleiman, said that some residents were selling their land instead of preparing for planting.

“I have so far recorded 66 transactions involving both local and foreigners buying land from the people here in Manda with some even going for as low as Sh10,000 an acre,” Mr Suleiman said.
He added: “I want to specifically plead with the headmen in Manda to educate individuals on alternative means to benefit from their land without selling it.”

Already, Lamu Governor Issa Timamy has warned speculators to keep off the new land owners and asked chiefs to encourage residents to put their land to productive use.

Mr Timamy claimed some DOs and chiefs were colluding with speculators to secure land on the cheap, which, he warned, could lead to permanent landlessness in the area.

The governor was speaking during the swearing-in of four executive members of the Lamu county government and Public Service Board at Mkunguni Square, Lamu Fort.

The story is the same in Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta where thousands of residents were given ownership documents for the land they had been living on for decades. Friday, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said distribution of the remaining titles would continue in various parts today.

Mr Joho  said the county officials in charge of land, County Commissioner Nelson Marwa and Lands officials would visit Jomvu and Mwakirunge to ensure all the remaining title deeds are issued to the residents.

He reiterated that his county government would do everything to ensure the residents get their land.

“Today we will be at Jomvu and Mwakirunge to ensure all the remaining title deeds are issued to the residents,” the governor said.

In Taita Taveta County where many previously landless individuals also benefited from the allocations, leaders have warned against hurried land sales.

Ms Assumpta Mwamburi, who works for a humanitarian organisation in the county, advised the locals not to sell their small pieces of land.

Reported by Kalume Kazungu, Winnie Atieno and Mwangombe Mwambeo

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