Leaders from Tana River, Isiolo and Marsabit (TIM) counties have waded into Isiolo land adjudication process, demanding the cancellation of the legal notice establishing the county as an adjudication area.
Led by Marsabit Governor Mohammud Ali and Bula MP Ali Wario, the leaders raised concern that adequate public participation was not done prior to issuance of the notice that has since widened the rift between Isiolo MPs and Governor Mohamed Kuti.
“We are concerned with the manner in which the notice was done because there was no public participation and the county leadership is in the dark,” said Governor Ali, the team leader.
Speaking at a meeting in Isiolo, the leaders said the order had not taken into consideration the interests of local residents, arguing that issues concerning land, which is an emotive issue in the pastoral counties, must be handled with a lot of care.
“We are appealing to the national government to always ensure that public are involved when dealing with land issues because they must be consulted before any decision is made,” he added.
The politicians threatened to seek court redress to stop the adjudication process which they insisted must be driven by the community and not the county government.
“Any attempt to subdivide the land in the region without seeking views from the residents is unacceptable and goes contrary to provisions of the Constitution,” said Saku MP Dido Laso.
The notice excludes Isiolo Township, Resort City, the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor route, the Kenya Defence Forces School of Infantry and Combat Engineering, national game reserves and holding grounds.
Governor Kuti wants the notice amended so that adjudication is done only in settled areas and townships while senators Fatuma Dullo and Abshiro Halake (Nominated), Rehema Jaldesa (Woman Representative) and MPs Hassan Odha and Abdi Koropu of Isiolo North and South want the notice revoked and the process done afresh in line with the Community Land Act.
COMMUNITY TITLE DEED
The leaders maintained that the county should first get a community land title deed and conversion of land ownership to public be done thereafter in consultation with residents and leaders.
Isiolo MPs, who have already challenged the matter in court, have severally stressed that they were not aware of any compulsory acquisition with respect to the areas excluded in the schedule and which should therefore continue being community land.
The legislators have also maintained that they are not opposed to issuance of title deeds but Mr Kuti has accused them of having ‘selfish interests’ for seeking court redress.
Protection of disputed areas claimed by the military, the leaders said, has created unease among residents who fear losing their land to corrupt individuals.
The leaders supported the recently released Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report arguing that it will spur development and promote cohesion in the country.
While calling for its fast implementation, Governor Ali and Ms Jaldesa said the proposals in the report will enhance development in the region.
“As leaders from TIM counties, we support the BBI report 100 per cent as the increased allocations to the counties will spur development in our region which has been lagging behind in past years,” the governor said.
The leaders hailed President Uhuru Kenyatta for uniting the country, stating that they are waiting for his direction on the BBI.
“We want to assure the President of our support, whether we go the Parliament or referendum route,” the Isiolo woman rep said.
The leaders reiterated their commitment towards uniting communities in the region with the aim of fostering peace and realising development.
Also in attendance were Tana River Senator Juma Wario and MPs Abdi Koropu (Isiolo South), Qalicha Gufu (Moyale), Musa Arbelle (Laisamis), Safia Sheikh (Marsabit woman rep) and Hassan Odha of Isiolo North.