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Controversy over land ownership brewing

A  section  of  the  residents  in  Golini  ward in Kwale county want the National Government to conduct fresh land survey and verification exercise to end land wrangles in the area on Saturday July 13, 2019. Photo by  KNA.
The  former  Kwale county women rep. Zeinab Chidzuga  when  she joined Golini residents on Saturday July 13, 2019 in asking for issuance of genuine title deeds to enable residents utilize their land well. Photo by  KNA.

A section of residents of Golini ward in Kwale County  on Saturday  want the National government to conduct a fresh land survey and verification exercise to end land wrangles in the area.

The  aggrieved residents contended a repeat exercise would expose politicians and businessmen who fraudulently benefited from skewed land allocation in the area.

They  said land cartels and the Kwale county lands office were to blame for their woes, saying the collusion was to blame for fake and duplication of title deeds.

As  land disputes grow deeper in Golini ward Matuga sub county, locals said the unfairness in land ownership was alarming and they had lost hope in the land office as foreigners hold title deeds of most land while natives become squatters in their own land.

A  resident, Swaleh Marino says surveys have been done severally but still they were unable to address the land wrangles because tycoons accompanied by private surveyors visit their lands during the night and alter the process.

He said land assessment and adjudication has been carried out in the past by the National Land Commission but nothing came out of the process.

“But  the situation we have is people from outside the scheme have been coming here brandishing ownership documents,” he said during a public hearing in Golini.

Residents now want fresh surveys conducted for fairness to prevail and issuance of genuine title deeds to enable them utilize their land well.

Another resident, Salim  Suleiman said the local land office has the capacity of verifying information on various plots before issuing title deeds but officials seemed compromised by investors.

He said land ownership documents were being issued to people from outside Kwale for land which already belonged to the residents.

The  National Irrigation Board (NIB) Director  and former Kwale County Women Rep, Zainab  Chidzuga  questioned why the local police allowed themselves to be compromised and misused by land grabbers who walked with surveyors during the night.

Ms. Chidzuga  assured the residents that land injustices would come to an end and that the rightful owners would get land ownership documents.

She  however, asked the locals not to sell their land to buyers and turn around later to complain that their ancestral land was being grabbed by outsiders.

An Assistant County Commissioner in Kwale Dennis Barasa said it was wrong for the police to be partisan in land matters and said residents’ complaints would be investigated and appropriate measures taken.

“Land  surveys are done during the day not at night and police have no business escorting surveyors in the dead of the night,” he said.

By  Shaban  Omar/Hussein Abdullahi

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