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Governors want BBI to implement land reports

Monday January 27 2020

Building Bridges Initiative

Coast governors lead the Building Bridges Initiative delegates meeting at Wild Waters Park in Mombasa on January 24, 2020. They have crafted proposals to facilitate the region's growth. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

CHARLES LWANGA
By CHARLES LWANGA
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Six Coast governors have proposed that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) implement the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) and Ndung’u land reports as a way of addressing historical land injustices.

In a document seen by the Nation, governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Amason Kingi (Kilifi), Salim Mvurya (Kwale), Dhadho Godhana (Tana River) Fahim Twaha (Lamu) and Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta) have come up with 16 resolutions to be included in the BBI report aimed at addressing the land issues.

The resolutions will also improve the region’s economy and create jobs, the governors said.

The resolutions were read by Mr Kingi on Saturday during the BBI meeting at the Mama Ngina Waterfront in Mombasa that was attended by ODM leader Raila Odinga and Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, among others.

The Ndung’u Land Report of the early 2000s was the result of an inquiry into irregular allocation of public land.

NATIONAL POLICY

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The TJRC report of 2008 was about ethnic conflicts, semi-despotic regimes, marginalisation and political violence, including the coup d'état of 1982, the Shifta War, and the 2007 post-election violence, which left about 1,000 people dead and over 300,000 others internally displaced.

The governors say the people of the Coast region met last Friday to deliberate on the BBI report and made the 16 resolutions.

Other than the implementation of the reports, the governors propose that the Constitution be amended to introduce a clause that will revoke all grants held by absentee landlords, and compels the government to buy land from absentee landlords and resettle the affected communities.

“The government should pass a national policy on historical land injustices through which a substantive stand-alone law on how to address the injustices will be enacted,” says the document.

LAND AUTHORITY

The governors further propose that the government undertake a rapid-results initiative programme of titling all untitled land in favour of coastal people to avert further land grabbing.

They also want the government to suspend renewing all expired leases unless with the approval from county governments.

They also want the establishment of a regional land authority with quasi-judicial powers to enable it to review land grants and hear claims of adverse possession of land.

To deal with the negative effects of the standard gauge railway on the region’s economy, the governors recommend that all port operations be undertaken at port facilities.

“This will help revive the transport and logistics sector in general and save many employment opportunities that have been so far lost,” explained Mr Kingi.

BLUE ECONOMY

They also proposed that the government provide an economic stimulus fund for the key growth sectors (blue economy, tourism, cottage industries, agribusiness, transport and logistics, ports and value addition) to create employment, growth, social well-being and equity in the region.

“The government should also support the revival of defunct industries in the coastal region, particularly those related to cotton, coconuts, cashew nuts, rice, bixa, simsim and sugar. In this regard, these crops must be classified and acknowledged as cash crops under the law,” he said.

In order to tap more into the blue economy, the governors propose the creation of a blue economy ministry at the national level with a Cabinet secretary from the coastal region.

“Ensure equitable inclusion and representation of the coastal people in top government positions in leadership and management of public institutions and resources,” they say.

FEDERAL SYSTEM

The governors also propose the establishment of a federal system of government, creating regional governments while retaining county governments.

“Funding allocated to these regional and county governments should take up 70 per cent of the national government revenue,” said Mr Kingi.

The governors also propose the creation of two regions — upper Coast region (Kilifi, Lamu and Tana River), and a lower Coast region (Taita-Taveta, Mombasa, Kwale).