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State to verify correct land ownership in the east of Maasai Mau Forest

The State is in the process of verifying the correct land ownership in five group ranches that border the Maasai Mau forest at Ololulunga ward in Narok South Sub County.

Narok South Deputy Sub County Commissioner Felix Kisalu said the expansive portion of land has been the bone of contention and was alleged to be the root cause of the on and off skirmishes experienced in the ward.

Kisalu spoke yesterday at Pimbiniet Police post at the border of Maasai Mau forest during the launch of the land clean up exercise where he asked the residents to cooperate with the land officials for the success of the exercise.

Also in attendance were two National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) commissioners Abdinasir Farah and Dr. Danvas Makori, Narok County Land Registrar Tom Chepkwesi and County Surveyor Jacob Shadiva.

The five group ranches are Olombogisho group ranch with 607 hectares, Oloshusho ranch (1155 hectares), Oloopangi group ranch (1117 hectares), Enekishomi ranch (800 hectares) and Letian Leboo ranch with 600.

Kisalu asked the group ranch officials to work closely with the land officials to show them their borders, urging them not to hide anything from the land officials to facilitate a fast, transparent exercise.

“Many residents have lost millions of shilling trying to pursue legal action for their pieces of land. We hope that the process we just began will bring satisfaction to all the individual land owners,” said Kisalu.

The group ranches were issued with land ownership documents in the 1970’s by the former county council but a caveat imposed later on the title deeds after it emerged that the land divided was overlapping.

The Deputy County Commissioner said they would begin by establishing the correct boundaries of the group ranches before they get the boundaries of the individual members.

Ms. Alice Cherotich, who has lived in the area since early 1990s confessed that the issue of land has been a thorn in the fresh to the residents as no one has a valid land ownership document.

“When I came here, I bought a piece of land and I was given a title deed but I later informed that the title deeds we have are from ‘River Road’ and that it is a fake document. We are crying to the government to help in issuing clean title deeds that we will use as a proof of land ownership,” said Ms. Cherotich.

Nayieyo Sirma, who hails from the Ogiek community said he passed through all the government processes and was given title deed in the year 1997 but a few years later, the titles were suspended as there were allegations of land overlapping.

“We do not expect such incidents of overlapping again this time round. In case of any complaint, we will direct it to the land surveyors because we are tired of living without valid land documents,” said Sirma.

The County Surveyor Jacob Shadiva said the work would be complete in a month’s time and asked the group ranch officials to cooperate for a successful exercise.

“You all know that land does not grow. We are determined to clean up the mistakes that occurred in the past,” said the land surveyor.

Commissioner Makori observed that the process of verifying land ownership will go a long way with building peace and cohesion in the community.

The area has been experiencing on and off skirmishes with the latest experienced in the month of April where seven people were killed and several injured in a one-week clash that involved the Kipsigis and Maasai communities.

By Ann Salaton

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