Residents of Nkararo area in Trans Mara West Sub-county in Narok could not hide their joy on Friday as the state issued them with 1,273 title deeds expected to halt frequent land conflicts in the area.
The title deeds were issued at Nkararo Maranatha Church compound in an event attended by Governor Samuel Tunai, Narok County Commissioner (CC), Evans Achoki and Director of Land Adjudication and Settlement, Paul Mwangi.
The title deeds will mostly benefit the Siria and Uasin Gishu Maasai clans that live in the 15, 000 Kilometer square piece of land and who have been battling over land boundaries since 1974.
Governor Tunai who hails from the Siria community lauded the collaboration between the County and National government, saying it has helped in solving the emotive land issue as well as speeding up development agenda in the County.
“This day can only be compared to the day a boy is circumcised because after the pain, he becomes a man enough and nothing can revert it. We feel so much relieved that our people will have their permanent land documents,” said the County boss.
He reiterated that his joy was in seeing the residents live in peace, saying despite the land being one of the best in food production in the County, the residents did not enjoy its full potential because of the frequent land dispute and unending conflicts.
“I come from the Siria community, but I can tell you for free that I am not one of the beneficiaries of this Nkararo land. I do not have even a quarter of an acre here and am not interested because am not a bona fide member. My joy is to see the real owners of the land getting their entitlements,” he said.
Tunai said all the beneficiaries will get their title deeds free of charge as all the expenses were paid by the government.
“Today we have gotten a document that assures us that where we live is our permanent home. Every person who has been living in this land whether from the Siria, Uasin Gishu or has origin from outside counties has been given a title deed,” he confirmed.
Commissioner Achoki asked the beneficiaries to beware of evil minded people who hide amongst them with intension to cause suspicions and conflicts.
“I have been meeting the peace committees from this area, the youth and women groups and they all assured me that when they get their title deeds, they will never fight again,” Achoki said.
He called on the residents to do productive work in their piece of land, warning residents against selling their precious property cheaply, saying such will render them poor again.
“I beg you to preserve these title deeds because they are your inheritance. If you have to sell your land, then it must be for a profitable initiative that will boost your livelihood,” he advised.
The Commissioner also warned on the residents to respect the boundaries set by the Department of Land, failure to which they will face the law.
The Lands Director observed that the Nkararo land title deeds had taken a long time but was relieved that they were finally out.
“When I was employed in 1985, I met the Nkararo issue on the table. I worked in the Department until I retired and later was given a contract in the same Department. I am only remaining with one week for the contract to expire but I am so happy that one of the achievements I have witnessed is the issuing title deeds in the Nkararo land,” he said.
Pauline Nalutu, a beneficiary, sang songs of praise to God and thanked the government for fulfilling their promise of giving them title deeds.
The elderly widow hoped to develop her land with confidence as the document assures her that the land she lives in is now hers and she is protected by the government.
Conflicts in the agricultural rich area are traced back in the early 1970s when the two Maasai clans differed over land issues.
Tens of people were killed while others were left with permanent conditions because of the frequent fracas in the area.
The Rift Valley Regional Commissioner, George Natembeya, has visited the land severally in an effort to try and unite the two conflicting clans.
During the Easter period in the year 2020, Natembeya while on a peace tour in the area imposed a 4pm to 7pm curfew that lasted for five months.
The Regional Commissioner, after the five months when the land was calm, visited the area to lift the curfew with a warning that the curfew hours would be revised if they continued fighting each other.
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has also visited the area on several occasions to broker peace between the conflicting clans.
With the issuance of title deeds, the residents expect to shun any form of incitement to war and instead concentrate in developing of their land.
By Ann Salaton