The government has issued eighty-two public schools in Taita-Taveta County with title deeds under the school-titling programme to secure learning institutions in the region from potential land grabbers.
Out of the total deeds issued, sixty-six are for primary schools and sixteen are for secondary schools.
Additionally, 17 title deeds; 14 for primary schools and three for secondary schools, are under the custody of county government.
Dennis Mutungi, National Land Commission (NLC) official in Taita-Taveta County, said the over 15 more schools whose land documents were sent to Nairobi would receive their title deeds.
Speaking in Mwatate on Tuesday during a County Development Implementation Coordination Committee (CDICC) meeting, Mutungi added that 180 public schools were yet to be issued with title deeds owing to lack of documentation.
“We have asked the schools for ownership documents but they have not provided us with any,” he said.
Out of the 180 schools, 79 primary schools have not provided ownership documents to facilitate in preparation of title deeds. For secondary schools, 45 have not provided documents of ownership. Thirty primary schools and eleven secondary schools cannot be issued with title deeds because they fall under zones under adjudication.
Fourteen schools; eight primary schools and six secondary schools, are on the waiting list because they fall under townships areas that require planning.
Mutungi said NLC would engage the County Government on how to transfer the seventeen title deeds under the custody of the devolved unit to the individual schools.
“The title deeds were issued during the time of defunct local governments under the name of county councils. We will engage the county government to have the title given to the schools,” he said.
He also urged the county government department of land and planning to fast-track on planning of towns to demarcate schools’ land for issuance of title deed.
The County Commissioner (CC), Ms. Rhoda Onyancha lauded the move to issue title to schools noting there was need to secure all public land from encroachment.
She expressed concerns over large tracts of unsecured government land in the region which she said was a prime target for land grabbers. She asked NLC and relevant department to work closely to secure public land.
“There is need to protect public land from encroachment by unauthorised persons. All public institutions should strive to ensure its land is well-secured,” she said.
The administrator’s concern comes in the wake of tussles between the local residents and public institutions over land ownership.
The latest one is a row pitting Department of Prison and hundreds of residents of Kalolenyi area over the ownership of 40-acre piece of land at Ore Basin in Voi.
Recently, another group came out demanding for compensation and claiming the new Mwatate Police station is built on their ancestral land.
There is also another row brewing between residents of Ikanga area and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) over Ikanga airstrip.
Mutungi urged all public institutions to actively secure their land to avoid potential conflict by other parties claiming ownership of such land parcels.
By Wagema Mwangi