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Hope at last as land members receive a title deed after many decades

Some 1,200 Koija community land members in Laikipia North Sub County are a happy lot after finally receiving a title deed of 7,554 acres parcel after many decades of waiting.

Land ownership has been a major challenge for the indigenous communities in the country due to lack of knowledge on registration process from pastoral communities and at the same time putting them at risk of their land being grabbed by greedy investors, however, that will be a thing of the past for the Koija community.

Land ownership for indigenous communities came into place after the enactment of Community land Act 2016.

“It has been a challenge in Laikipia and across the country for communities to transit from the former group ranches to community land ownership since the community don’t understand issues of land. It had been a tedious process for the communities and that is why we came in to support,” Peter Matunge, an operations manager from Laikipia Conservancies Associations told KNA after title deed issuance at Nosrai primary school in Laikipia North.

Matunge said that only 25 percent of community land had been registered in the country. Laikipia which has 13 group ranches has all been registered as community land including Musul, Ilngwesi, Maiyanat, Lekuruki, Shulmai among others.

Kioja was supported by Laikipia Conservancies Associations in securing that crucial land document that will enable them to attract investors in the tourism sector owing to the lodges in the scenic areas like Koija star-bed and Nabor.

“Laikipia has been one of the county’s leading land transition processes in the country and we are happy the majority had been able to transit,” said Matunge.

He pointed out that, the Community land Act of 2016 had offered mandate of land management and development to community land committees which he revealed they would continue working with, to ensure Koija residents benefit.

“They will manage the land communally and this gives room for conservation and nature to continue thriving in these areas and we will continue to support them to make their land productive,” Matunge assured.

Naibunga Lower conservancy chairperson Naiptari Mathew said that, in the past, it was a challenge in attracting investors since the land was not registered.

“We are happy having received a title deed, previously it was hard getting investors because we had not transited. We have now complied 100 percent and we will start engaging the donors since our land tenure has been secured,” said Naiptari.

He added that Naibunga conservancy boasts itself with three formerly group ranches that had transited to community land like Tiamamut, Koija and Ilmotiok.

He further pointed out that boundary conflicts that had led to increase of insecurity in the area will end following acquisition of the title deed.

Naiptari urged pastoralist communities who had depended on livestock keeping to diversify to alternative sources of livelihood, noting due to climate change, they had been severely impacted.

Koija community land chairperson Thomas Lenaiputari, one of the title deed beneficiaries, said the other challenge in the land registration process was lack of funds.

He said after getting that important land document, they target to effectively use their resources like sand and wild animals to generate income and educate their children.

Other counties that have made strides on community land registration are Samburu, Kajiado and West Pokot. There are over 384 group ranches in the country in 24 counties inhabited by the indigenous communities that require land registration.

By Muturi Mwangi

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