Machakos County Commissioner (CC) Fredrick Ndunga has warned land grabbers and cartels -operating in Mavoko sub-county in Machakos against deceiving unsuspecting residents and selling them non-existing land.
Addressing the press in his office over the weekend, Ndunga said that the government will not allow grabbing of government land by greedy cartels pointing that the law will not be lenient on anyone found culpable.
“This is very serious, we cannot watch as the notorious land brokers who are in the prowl grab all public utility land in Mlolongo and Athi River areas of Mavoko,” said Ndunga.
The County Commissioner advised those intending to purchase land within the sub-county to be cautious and follow the right legal procedures to avoid falling prey.
Ndunga regretted that several con-land brokers sell land which does not belong to them thereby causing buyers great financial and emotional losses.
“We have had cases where some people invade government land and start selling it to unsuspecting buyers knowing very well that it does not belong to them,” said Ndunga.
He further urged residents to be careful while buying land in Machakos to avoid falling prey to these greedy cartels.
In January 2019, Athi River Sub-County Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) David Juma cautioned illegal landowners in Athi River area on Mavoko against grabbing both private and public land.
Juma who was responding to recent protests following demolitions at Kwa Mulinge land scheme in Mlolongo pointed that the ongoing police operations were meant to flash out criminals who are a security threat to the real landowners.
Juma said the occupants of the illegal structures are cartels who do not have legal documents to prove that the land in question belongs to them.
“Those claiming that their houses are being demolished are the criminals, let them produce documents of land ownership and they will not be disturbed,” said Juma
The DCC said the government will ensure that investors who legitimately acquired land in the area and hold genuine ownership documents are protected so that they can develop their property.
He pointed out that some of the protestors use outlawed groups to attack landowners whenever they visit their land.
Juma revealed that police had arrested some of the suspects who would be arraigned in court once investigations are concluded adding that some of the cartels are criminals who use the makeshift structures as their hideouts.
In December 2018, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i vowed to streamline land issues in Mavoko and neighboring Kitengela.
Addressing the public at Slota Estate in Athi River town, Matiang’i said his Ministry’s next mission after managing security was to fight land cartels who have invaded private and public land in parts of the sub-county
On her part, Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney said the government is putting in place the necessary measures to deal with cartels that have infiltrated the land sector.
Karoney said it would virtually be impossible for such individuals to have their ways into the system once auditing and centralization of land documents are complete.
Karoney said her office is working closely with the Machakos government and the then area County Commissioner Esther Maina to solve the perennial squatter challenge, which is synonymous with Mavoko.
She said one of the measures the ministry is undertaking is to ensure all parcels of land in the country are registered and have genuine title deeds while those without proper ownership papers will have their issues addressed.
In December 2018, a 13-member taskforce was established under gazette notice no. 12622 and a note of extension of the period through a gazette notice no. 1555 of February 15th, 2019.
The task force was expected to review and assess the implementation status of The November 2011 report of the taskforce on Irregular Appropriation of Public Land and the Squatter Problem in Athi River District presented to the then Minister of State and Internal Security the late Prof. George Saitoti.
The taskforce was also to ascertain the status of land allocation in Mavoko area and whether there are any cases of fraud or irregular appropriation of land happening since the November 2011 Report was presented for implementation.
In addition, it was mandated to identify Public Lands and advise on the status of titling of such lands and find out how public institutions are utilizing land allocated to them and the mechanisms in place to protect the land.
The taskforce’s inception was necessitated after several inquiries, complaints and concerns were received at the Land Ministry regarding the increased rate of invasion and illegal appropriation of both public and private lands and properties in Mavoko.
By Rachael Kilonzo