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Row brewing over Kamiti land as group registers survey firm

Friday November 1 2019

Kamiti Anmer land

Ms Rachael Nyamai, the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on land, addresses squatters embroiled in a battle with the Kenya Forest Service over the ownership of the 419-acre piece of land at Kamiti Anmer land in Kiambu during a hearing at Kamiti Anmer Primary School on November 16, 2018. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

SIMON CIURI
By SIMON CIURI
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A row is brewing at the 419-acre Kamiti/Anmer land in Kiambu County worth an estimated Sh12 billion after a group, including a local sub-chief and two people, registered a land buying and selling company ahead of the degazzetment of the land from the Kenya Forest Service (KFS). A parliamentary report that will determine whether the land reverts to the public or not is also awaited.

The land has been the subject of a 23-year row between the KFS and a group of squatters.

KFS wanted the squatters, who have been living on the land since it was gazetted as a forest, evicted. But the squatters insist that it was allocated to them by President Daniel arap Moi in the 1990s, but the forest was neither degazetted nor title deeds issued. A case is pending in a Thika court over the matter.

Meanwhile, the newly registered Anmer Survey Services is asking those with allotment letters to pay Sh20,000 survey fee.

More than 2,000 people currently claim the ownership of the land under different groups, among them Kamiti Anmer Development Association, Kamiti Development Group headed by PMG Kamau, a former clerk of the defunct Kiambu County Council. He also vied for the Kandara Constituency seat but lost to Ms Alice Wahome in the last general election.

Interviews with the different groups claiming the land say the newly formed outfit is fishy, is out to sell the part of land if case one does not pay the survey fee.

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“This smacks of fraud because the land has not been officially degazetted,” a member of one of the groups seeking title deeds.

A member of another group said the new company is a front for commercialising the land and locking out those who cannot afford the survey fee.

“Not everybody can afford Sh20,000. And why should we pay a private surveyor when the land is public property,” said a member of yet another group.

Kiambu County Commissioner Wilson Wanyanga had earlier told the Nation that he had already warned Mr Kamau against collecting survey fees until the matter is resolved by the government and the parliamentary committee on land, which is handling the matter.

“I have spoken to PMG Kamau after the issue was brought to my attention.

But Mr Kamau told the Nation that the commissioner had no authority to give orders on the land since it is private.