Kiambu town Member of Parliament Mr. Jude Njomo has rubbished contents of a report presented to the Parliamentary Lands committee of the National Assembly that he never available.
Njomo said it was not true that he was not available when the land administration officers compiled their report on the issues affecting the settlement of squatters in the disputed land hived off Anmer forest in Kiambu County.
“I am a public figure and my contacts both physical, mailing and electronic are in the public domain and therefore I find no reason as to why it was documented in this report that I was not unavailable,” Jomo fumed.
He told the committee chaired by the Kitui South MP Dr. Rachel Nyamai that it was inappropriate to document such an allegation whereas nobody had made an effort to reach him with a view to discussing issues related to the Anmer forest land.
He warned that the land issue should be looked into with sober minds.
Njomo called on the committee to be objective in their approach towards the issue so as to end the suffering of the squatters who have for 20 years been unable to develop their land which they were given by the former president Daniel Arap Moi.
He said a Presidential decree “could not be overturned” as the squatters’ cries had been heard by Mr. Moi who responded promptly and gave the people who had relocated to the forest following the post-election violence of 2002 that affected several communities.
“It is the line departments charged with land administration who did not act fast to do the paperwork for the people to own the land. Had they done so, these people who have suffered for two decades would have continued with development of their land,” he explained.
The delay, the MP regretted had brought about the current situation where many other groups have since emerged claiming ownership of the land.
The committee had toured Kiambu with a view of talking to the people who have settled on the land in question and make a report on the way forward concerning the ownership.
Kenya forest service is contending that the land belongs to the institution and that the people be evicted to enable them replant trees to increase forest cover.
About 1, 000 acres of land is under dispute with four groups claiming ownership and pursuing attention from the NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri to intervene and have them allocated the land.
The groups are Kamiti Development Association, Muungano wa Kamiti Squatters, Kamiti Anmer Association and Kamiti Forest Association.
Immediately after the boardroom meeting, the committee proceeded to the land in question and listened to the representatives of the groups who also presented to them written reports of their groups.
The reports included how they acquired the land from through Moi, how they shared it and how government departments have allegedly frustrated their efforts to develop it.
In her address, the chairperson promised that his committee will look into all the reports and come up with an appropriate solution.
She told them that the committee would not be biased in her work and that they would rely on all available documentary information for guidance.
She also called on the groups to unite for a brighter future if at all they needed intervention from the Committee.
“When you are so many groups and each group claims ownership, then we cannot know who is telling the truth and who is lying,” she summed up her counsel.
In August this year, Swazuri visited the affected land and was shown graves of some people who are said to have been genuine beneficiaries.
By Lydia Shiroya