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Government committed to end squatter menace, Balala 

The government is committed to completely eradicate the squatter menace in the country, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said.

Balala said that was why the government had prepared and issued more than 6.5 million title deeds country-wide since the Jubilee Government came to power in 2013, and lauded President Uhuru Kenyatta for spearheading the process.

Speaking in Chakama, Bungale and Garashi locations of Magarini Constituency where he commenced the issuance of 14,000 tittle deeds for residents in the constituency, Balala noted that the number of title deeds issued by the Kenyatta administration was more than double of that issued by successive governments between 1963 and 2013.

This year alone, the government has announced that it will issue more than 2 million title deeds across the country even as more land is surveyed and adjudicated in order to ensure that all Kenyans own land.

“As government, we do not want to hear issues about squatters any more. The residents of the Coast region have suffered a lot due to lack of title deeds,” Balala said adding, “The first three governments after independence issued only 6 million titles, but the Uhuru Government has in the issued 6.5 million since 2013,” he said.

Balala, who was accompanied by Kilifi County Commissioner Kutswa Olaka, and former Chief Administrative Secretary, Gideon Mung’aro, who is seeking the Kilifi governorship, urged residents to use the documents to develop themselves.

He cautioned them against selling their land, noting that the government would no longer entertain professional squatters, who have a habit of selling land immediately they are issued with title deeds and become squatters elsewhere.

“We are now keeping a database of the people we are giving title deeds, and if we discover that you are a squatter after selling your land, we shall severely deal with you because you are frustrating the government’s efforts,” he warned.

“You cannot be a squatter all your life. The government comes to give you land, but you sell the land and go and be as squatter elsewhere. This will not be entertained by government. That is why the government knows genuine squatters,” said the CS.

He told beneficiaries to use the documents as collateral to obtains loans and venture into businesses instead of selling their land.

He urged families with land disputes to seek help from government officers instead of killing elders due to land feuds.

At the same time, Balala said the Uhuru Kenyatta government was committed to improving the economic wellbeing of the Coast region through the implementation of multi-billion infrastructure projects that he said had opened up the region for economic development.

Kilifi County Commissioner Kutswa Olaka said the government would issue 39,000 title deeds in the county this week and urged residents not to sell land but instead use documents as collateral to obtain loans and venture into businesses to improve their economic wellbeing.

He called for an end to the killings of elderly people on the guise of being witchcraft suspects, noting that investigation had revealed that most of the killings were related to land disputes among family members.

Former Chief Administrative Secretary Gideon Mung’aro urged the government to buy land from tycoons and distribute it to squatters in order to end the perennial animosity between land owners and squatters especially along the coastal strip.

Residents interviewed expressed their joy for obtaining the land ownership documents and lauded the government for its efforts to end the squatter menace.

Two of the beneficiaries William Baya Kithunga and Immaculate Dama said they had suffered in the hands of tycoons who claim to own land in the area and said the issuance of the title deeds would give them peace of mind.

By Emmanuel Masha

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