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Nakuru to use mediators in resolving land disputes

Monday July 22 2019

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui who has said that mediators are being trained to help in resolving land disputes in the county in order to avoid the long court processes and ensure residents get title deeds quickly. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ERIC MATARA
By ERIC MATARA
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The many land cases pending in courts have prompted the Nakuru County government to train mediators to help resolve the disputes and hasten the issuance of title deeds to residents.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui, in an interview with the Nation, said most land cases can be solved through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms as opposed to filing court cases. This, he said, will ensure the ongoing titling programme benefits more residents.

"The county has embarked on training officers from the county and national governments on alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to help fast-track the process. The title deed is not only proof of ownership but also a catalyst to economic empowerment as it can be used to get loans," said Governor Kinyanjui.

LAND DISPUTES

The ongoing titling programme is being undertaken by the county in conjunction with the national government.

Statistics from the courts in the region indicate that at least 50 percent of cases involve land disputes and are threatening to frustrate the ambitious programme.

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The mediators are expected to help resolve land disputes to ensure more residents get title deeds under the titling programme.

The Nation established that the officers include surveyors and planners.

Mr Kinyanjui said his administration, in collaboration with the Ministry of Land, targets to issue at least 100,000 title deeds.

So far, 42,000 title deeds have been processed.

TITLE DEEDS

Recently, the county government issued 7,000 title deeds to Naivasha residents and another 6,500 to land owners in Gilgil Sub-County.

Governor Kinyanjui has called on Nakuru residents to take advantage of the titling programme to acquire the crucial documents.

Among those targeted in the issuance of the documents include internally displaced persons (IDPs), settlement schemes, land buying companies and other individuals.

The Patel dam tragedy survivors will also receive title deeds for their land.

The residents of Nyankinyua and Energy villages were among the most affected by the tragedy that killed 48 people and left a trail of destruction in Solai.

HISTORICAL LAND CASES

The Nakuru titling programme is aimed at putting to rest incessant land conflicts in the county.

Vicious land disputes, including those regarded as historical injustices in the region, have been the cause of conflicts among various communities.

Recent clashes between two communities living in Nakuru County were linked to unresolved historical land conflicts.

In the past, the thorny land issues have led to bloodshed and sometimes loss of lives after individuals and also communities clashed over ownership.

Most of the expansive parcels of land in the region that were allocated to IDPs have had persistent ownership wrangles that even threatened their demarcations.

DOUBLE ALLOCATIONS

Some of the cases which involve double allocation of land have resulted to court cases.

Among areas that have witnessed bloodshed due to land conflicts are Naivasha, Njoro, Rongai, Gilgil, Bahati, Molo, Kuresoi South,Mai Mahiu and parts of Mau Narok.

In Naivasha, a controversy over land at Ndabibi, believed to belong to the Agricultural Development Corporation but which members of the Maasai community also lay claim to, has in the past led to the deaths of tens of people.

At the 26,000-acre Ngongongeri land in Njoro, where prominent people are said to have acquired huge tracts of land at the expense of the genuine land owners, bloody conflicts have been experienced in the past.

There have also been disputes involving land that borders the expansive Mau Forest.

In Marioshoni and Kiptunga for instance, the government placed a caveat against parcels of land following protracted disputes.