Nakuru County Government is teaming up with National Land Commission (NLC) and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to recover grabbed public land and assets valued at billions of shillings.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui said his administration was also working with the National government and NLC to ensure all public utilities including schools get title deeds for the land they occupy.
Speaking at the County headquarters after holding deliberations with NLC Commissioners Esther Murugi and Reginald Okumu, Mr Kinyanjui decried the land-grabbing mania which he said had deprived many residents of vital services.
He stated through collaboration with EACC, public assets within the devolved unit valued at over Sh266million had been recovered through an asset tracing programme that took two years.
The recovered properties include 27 public officers’ residences at the Nakuru Municipality Block valued at a total of Sh 74.2 million as well as another parcel of land which had been reserved for a Survey Camp by the Department of Survey in Nakuru County valued at Sh42 million.
EACC also recovered another piece of property on Nakuru Municipality Block estimated at Sh150 million belonging to the Postal Corporation which was allocated to a former member of parliament through an irregular alienation process.
Mr Kinyanjui indicated that some of the public land in hands of grabbers includes pathways, children’s playgrounds, school backyards, hospital yards, parking spaces, slaughter houses and markets. He advised those still clinging to public land to surrender it before forced repossession.
The governor said his administration had opened a new chapter in recovering illegally acquired property through structured negotiation. “There are several estates without public schools, government health centres, play fields and police stations, although land was originally set aside for them but was grabbed.
In their place, there are pubs and restaurants, shops or rental houses put up by private citizens. For those holding illegal titles for grabbed land and are not willing to negotiate and surrender them, please don’t cry foul when we come with bulldozers,” he warned
The governor said as city status beckons emphasis should be placed on proper planning of Nakuru’s urban centres and new towns to avoid mushrooming of informal settlements.
He observed the construction of Rironi-Mau Summit highway will guide planning of some of the centres like Salgaa and Kikopey. The Governor stated: “Nakuru Municipality is set to be a city. We must factor in proper land use and planning within and around the city,”
Ms Murugi said over the years NLC had recovered public spaces in most parts of the country. “In Kisumu for instance, land meant for putting up civil servants quarters by the Ministry of Housing had been grabbed as well as land set aside for expansion at the Kipchoge Keino stadium in Eldoret. These public spaces have since been recovered.
Schools in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Kakamega (Kakamega Primary School), whose land had been grabbed can also breathe a sigh of relief following the revocation of title deeds of private developers,” she pointed out.
Ms Murugi added that there was need for decisive action to banish the bad culture of land-grabbing.
Commissioner Okumu affirmed that NLC was ensuring that economic activities in the county were not grounded by repossessing public land meant for them that had been grabbed.
“The normal stories that the state is going to recover grabbed land have been made a reality by NLC. We cannot allow developers to benefit at the expense of many unemployed youths. We will continue to face these individuals and recover the land,” he added.
By Anne Mwale and Catherine Karanja