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Lamu Villagers Oppose County Plans to Survey Land

Deep divisions and mistrust simmer between Mgini village residents and Lamu County government over planned land survey of prime 1,700 acre beach plot in Kwasasi.
At least 200 Mgini community families, in Kwasasi area have called for the national government intervention in the land survey and issuance of title deeds for their 1,700 acres of ancestral land.
The locals within the 700 hectare beach plot have also raised fears over county government land officials’ motives to carry out a land management and subdivision survey, saying such a plan would leave them exposed to land grabbers.
This comes in the wake of a recent move by the county government advertising in the dailies over a planned survey of various unregistered public land parcels within the county to ensure squatter living on their ancestral land get title deeds in the next financial year.
The Lamu County government has set aside Sh 7 million in its 2020/2021 financial year budget for land survey, management and title deeds processing and issuance for the prime Mgini village area in Kwasasi which borders the LAPSSET area.

Left to Right Image of Omar Shahali, Mzee Abbas and Sheikh Yusuf Lali, three village elders of the Mgini community opposed to the county government move to land survey the community’s 1,700 acre land. They have voiced their concerns a possible land grab by county land officials eyeing the prime property which is next to the LAPSSET project

Speaking to the Press in Kwasasi area, Omar Shahali, a Mgini village resident stated that they are skeptical over the county government’s intentions to issue all land owners with a 5 acre title deed regardless of whether one has more land acreage.
“The planned move by the county government to issue us with five acre title deeds, while someone like myself has 20 acres is an affront to justice and the very reason we do not want them involved in the land management process in this area,” Shahali said.
He further noted that it is only now that residents had already won a previous civil suit that they had filed against LAPSSET which had laid claim to their land, that the county government stepped in to claim custody over their land.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Sheikh Yusuf Lali who opposed the move by the county government’s planned survey, stating that such a move would leave their land open to land grabbing by unscrupulous land officials.
“Our mistrust with the county government is not unfounded, as they now want to issue each of us with a 5 acre title deed all the while they have never provided any social amenities such as schools, dispensaries or even consistent water supply,” Lali said.
However Lamu Lands and Roads CEC Fahima Araphat said that on the contrary, the residents’ fears of a possible land grab by county land officials was unfounded.
She said that the county’s only concern was to ensure that the squatters get titles to their land, ahead of further land management by the county government.
“The county government’s only concern is to ensure that once the residents receive their titles, land is set aside to build a dispensary, a school and roads and this is likely to eat into land owners’ perceived acreages,” she said.
By Amenya Ochieng

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