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Isiolo: Storm brewing between MPs, governor over land adjudication legal notice

Thursday November 28 2019

From left:  Senators Fatuma Dullo and Abshiro

From left: Senators Fatuma Dullo and Abshiro Halake (nominated) and Isiolo Woman Representative Rehema Jaldesa at a past event in Isiolo town. They have vowed to tour the entire county sensitising residents on the implications of legal notice establishing the county as an adjudication area. PHOTO | WAWERU WAIRIMU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WAWERU WAIRIMU
By WAWERU WAIRIMU
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Isiolo MPs have said they will tour the entire county to make the residents aware of the implications of the legal notice issued by the Land ministry in August regarding the adjudication of land in the county.

While the adjudication is expected to fast-track the issuing of title deeds, the legislators want the order revoked and a fresh one issued in line with the Community Land Act, arguing that there was no public participation before the notice was issued.

Senators Fatuma Dullo and Abshiro Halake (nominated), Rehema Jaldesa (woman rep) and MPs Hassan Odha and Abdi Koropu of Isiolo North and South respectively, said community land adjudication must be driven by the community, not the county government.

“We will continue touring the county as we create awareness among our people on the implications of the notice, which we want revoked. The residents must be asked what they want, and that is what should be implemented,” Ms Dullo said. A fresh row has broken out between the lawmakers and Governor Mohamed Kuti, who wants the notice amended so that the adjudication is done only in settled areas and townships, while the rest of the land is registered as community land.

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 from the process.

The leaders, who have already visited five wards, said they were not aware of any compulsory acquisition with respect to the areas excluded from the schedule, and which should, therefore, continue being community land.

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Ms Jaldesa said the notice had legalised the occupation of disputed areas by the military, creating unease among the residents, who fear they might lose their land to unscrupulous individuals.

“We will not allow the protection of areas that are disputed as this will only create more unease among our people,” the woman rep said.

Ms Abshiro and Mr Koropu said they were not opposed to the issuance of title deeds, but maintained that priority should be given to getting a community title. Thereafter, converting the land ownership to public can be done in consultation with the residents and leaders.

“There is a laid-down procedure for converting community land to public, then private, and that is what we want followed. With the community title, the leaders and residents can agree on how sectional adjudication will be done,” said Ms Halake.

The MPs last week lashed out at County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri for allegedly taking sides in the tussle between them and the county government, claiming that he was out to divide the residents and deny them the right to get title deeds.

“He must tell us who he is working for and if it is not for the people of Isiolo, we will ask him to leave,” the nominated senator said.

Meanwhile, Mr Odha said, “We are not concerned about his new friendship with Governor Kuti, but he should do what brought him to Isiolo.”

However, Mr Kanyiri dismissed the allegations, accusing the MPs of opposing a government programme that seeks to fast-track the issuance of title deeds.

“They are entitled to their own opinions, but how can I discuss the matter with them when they are opposing a government programme?” Mr Kanyiri posed, adding: “The fact that we hold different opinions does not allow either of us to make wild accusations.”