Orengo acts to tackle the thorny land issue in Coast

Tuesday September 20 2011

By AMINA KIBIRIGE and DANIEL NYASSY

The Ministry of Lands has moved to solve the thorny land problem in Coast Province.

Lands Minister James Orengo made a weeklong tour of several Coast counties, where he issued title deeds to some 6,585 residents.

Last week’s tour took Mr Orengo and his entourage to Lamu, Kilifi and Mombasa counties.

And the minister assured the residents that the gesture was not politically motivated.

He was apparently alluding to the 2007 tour of the region by President Kibaki during which title deeds were issued but later taken back on grounds of anomalies such as misspellings, wrong names and incorrect plot numbers.

“Those ones were controversial, but not these ones,” stated Mr Orengo while issuing 3,421 title deeds in Mapimo, Magarini constituency.

He was referring to the Presidents tour of Gongoni-Malindi, in which he issued residents title deeds. (READ: Orengo issues 6,585 title deeds to squatters)

Last week, the minister issued land ownership documents at Faza in Lamu, where 1,455 residents benefited and another 1, 709 allotment letters at Maganda settlement scheme in Changamwe.

Mr Orengo also traversed remote parts of the region such as Mokoe, Mkunumbi, Mpeketoni and Witu in Faza, Ngomeni, Gongoni and Malindi in Kilifi, and Diani in the South Coast.

During a courtesy call at the provincial commissioner Ernest Munyi’s office, the minister conceded that landlessness was a big issue in Coast.

“The indigenous people of the Coast are not squatters but have a historical claim to the land and their interests must be protected,” he said, adding that although not every individual could be given a title deed to land they had settled on, the issue could be solved by giving the land to the community.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Orengo and his Fisheries Development counterpart Amason Kingi launched a programme to repossess all grabbed fish landing sites along the Kenyan coastline.

Speaking in Malindi, the two announced that the communities living in all the 60 coastal fish landing sites between Kiunga in Lamu and Vanga in Kwale would be issued with title deeds after the ones held by private developers were revoked.

Mr Kingi, who is also the Magarini MP, announced that the Fisheries Ministry had received Sh285 million from the World Bank to maintain the landing sites, build cold storage plants, put up ice-cube making plants and buy modern fishing gear for local fishermen.