Hindi Ward MCA Anab Mohammed has expressed concern over reports of increasing incidences of grabbing of government land by well-connected land barons in Lamu.
The MCA revealed that there may be a well-orchestrated plan being hatched by land barons to disenfranchise squatters in the Hindi area off of their land despite the ongoing national titling programme that is aimed at settling them.
“We have received reports that at least 15 title deeds for a 3,000 acre parcel of land belonging to squatters in Maramande have already been processed despite the real land owners occupying the land in question for more than 40 years,” Anab stated.
She made these remarks yesterday in Hindi during a public baraza in which she added that unscrupulous land brokers and developers were already on the prowl to get more titles for land that belonged to indigenous Lamu residents.
The Hindi Ward MCA called for more political goodwill both from the national and county government to stamp out land invasions and land grabbing amidst a prospective rush among private developers to get land in Lamu’s mainland area through hook or crook due to the expected coming of the Lamu Port.
Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama called for a proper state of land management in Lamu.
He stated that there is a need to address perennial land issues afflicting Lamu as a way of resolving conflict and insecurity that could arise from land disputes.
“A clear land management strategy is needed but it should be one that ensures that all parties involved in land disputes get their fair share,” Muthama stated.
The Lamu West legislator reiterated that land owners should not be swindled off of their land by land barons and called on the national and county government to reach out to the public with the aim of finally resolving land disputes that have also affected wealth distribution in the county.
“Majority of Lamu residents are either landless or squatters on their own land and only by them being given titles to their land will Lamu’s socio-economic profile rise,” Muthama said.
The local leaders’ sentiments come on the backdrop of the county government’s plans to divide 19,000 acres of the Swahili Scheme along quarter acre plots for squatters in the area with a section of the spatial plan being set aside for Special Economic Zone in preparation for the opening and operationalization of the Lamu Port.
A section of the county assembly led by Lamu County Assembly Speaker Abdul Kassim is however opposed to the move saying that land division and titling should be along land already occupied by land owners in the area.
Roads and Land CEC Fahima Araphat who spoke to KNA stated that the county land management plan for the Swahili Scheme is aimed at ensuring that land use and subdivision is done to the benefit of Lamu as a county.
“The county plan for Swahili scheme will prevent the emergence of informal settlements as has happened in other counties within the country,” Fahima said.
By Amenya Ochieng