The County Government of Kilifi has announced a raft of measures aimed at taming unscrupulous and irregular land dealings in the coastal county.
Through a public notice appearing in a local daily on Wednesday, the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Lands, Charles Dadu Karisa, said the irregular land dealings had led to the loss of community and public land to unscrupulous persons.
“The County Government of Kilifi is deeply concerned about reports of land transactions, including buying and selling, which disregard or circumvent the prevailing land laws and related legislation hence leading to loss of community land and public land and the irregular use of land,” he said is the advertisement.
Karisa said the county administration would challenge, with the intention to block or revoke any land registration borne out of irregular land transactions touching on community land or public land pursuant to the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the Community Land Act.
He said the county government would hold to account all persons who attempt to manipulate community land rights through irregular acquisition, allocations, or dispositions for their selfish ends and at the expense of deserving communities.
“The county government stands against the selling of land allocated by way of settlement schemes,” he said following reports that beneficiaries of settlement schemes in the county had been selling their land thus compounding the squatter menace.
He said the county administration would invoke provisions of the constitution and the Physical Planning Act to challenge, with intension to nullify, any subdivision scheme that it has not approved, including any registration instruments administered on the same.
The CECM said the county government would invoke provisions of the law to stop unapproved change of land use, with special reference to unpermitted conversion of high potential agricultural land in Magarini Sub County to other uses.
“Pursuant to the Constitution of Kenya and the Physical Planning Act 2019, the County Government is bound and shall challenge, with intension to nullify, any change of land use it has not approved,” he said.
And in a move that could see the county government unpopular among squatters, but for which wealthy and majorly foreign landowners will gleefully dance, the CEC member said the county government would not condone the practice of land invasion, terming it a crime.
“It is a crime by way of forceful retention to occupy, use and or dispose of land one does not own without the express consent of the registered owner,” he said.
He said Article 40(6) of the Constitution of Kenya provides that the constitutional right to property does not extend to land that is unlawfully acquired.
He said the county government would invoke necessary legal provisions to deter the development of illegally acquired land by denial of permission, by way of enforcement, or any other provisions within its jurisdiction.
If this is enforced, many residents of Kilifi and Malindi towns and their environs could see themselves kicked out of land since they are squatting on other people’s land.
Recently, the residents of Kadzuhoni in Magarini Sub County were left homeless after their houses were demolished after a tycoon obtained a court order to evict them.
And the residents of Migingo informal settlement in the outskirts of Malindi Town held a peaceful demonstration recently, protesting at alleged harassment by a local tycoon, whom they claimed was misusing the police to kick them out of the land they claim to have belonged to their ancestors.
By Emmanuel Masha