Sunday, September 1, 2013

Uhuru orders probe into land given to the powerful

Uhuru orders probe into land given to the powerful

Updated Sunday, September 1st 2013 at 09:35 GMT +3
President Kenyatta is entertained during his tour of the Coast, Saturday. [PHOTO: PSCU]
By Jacob Ng’etich
Kenya: The government will investigate how influential people allocated themselves large chunks of land at the Coast.

Reacting to claims by Lamu residents that land in the area and other parts of Coast region was illegally allocated to influential people in the previous government, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu to investigate the allegations. Mrs Ngilu’s docket includes land and housing.
The President also put on notice Lands officials who were involved in the land-grabbing scheme that their days are numbered.
“Those Lands officials that use their powers to ask for “something small” to serve Kenyans should desist or else they will go home,” said Kenyatta.
He warned that his government would not tolerate cases of ordinary people being dispossessed of their land.
“This story of people coming here and dishing out land anyhow should be forgotten, mambo ya ukora tuwache (trickery should stop), those who are interested in land should use the right channel,” said Kenyatta.
Speaking at Kongole grounds before issuing 2,000 title deeds to the residents of Pate is land, the President said the titles he was issuing had gathered dust in the Lands offices.
Move faulted
Some leaders in the region had previously threatened to oppose the issuance of the titles because the government had not consulted them. They had also demanded that the National Lands Commission be involved in the process.
President Kenyatta regretted that the issue of squatters seeking title deeds had lingered on for 50 years without being addressed.
“During the campaigns we had requested the residents to give us votes so that we can solve land issue and that is what we will continue doing,” said Kenyatta.

He said the Jubilee leadership knew during the campaigning period that land was a factor of production that is very beneficial to Kenyans.
“There is no way you can fight poverty without enabling people to own land. We must solve the land problem so as to unlock the land issue, and we are determined to do just that,” said the President.

He asked the beneficiaries to utilise the title deeds by either acquiring loans to build commercial structures, tilling their land, farming or starting businesses by using the land papers as collateral.
“The land for the 60,000 title deeds we have given you is worth more than Sh20 billion in value. You need to take the titles seriously, let’s use this value to benefit us,” he urged.
Kibaki’s promise
He said title deeds are free of charge and no government officer should purport to charge them anything.
“When I appointed Ngilu as Cabinet Secretary, I asked her to prioritise issuance of title deeds to Kenyans and especially to those in the Coast because they have suffered for many years as they do not own the land they live in,” said President Kenyatta.
However, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has faulted the move, saying the function of issuing of land title deeds should be left to the National Lands Commission.
He said the President should have used the occasion to allow the commission to begin its job of identifying land that was taken away from the people at the Coast and return it to rightful owners.
“The issue of land is bigger than mere issuing of title deeds and so the government should take land reforms seriously and not just make it a public relations exercise.
He was speaking at the home coming party of Butere MP Andrew Toloso yesterday afternoon.
The President has been in the Coast region for three days, together with his deputy William Ruto, where they distributed title deeds to squatters in Kilifi, Mombasa, Lamu, Tana River and Taita Taveta counties.

On Friday, the President presented 22,000 title deeds to residents of Kilifi and Mombasa and pledged to resolve the land problem.
Yesterday, Kenyatta told the residents of Lamu he was ready to fulfill former President Kibaki’s promise of training 1,000 youth in the county so as to get jobs in the LAPPSET project. He said the government had allocated Sh20 million for this purpose.

“You need to make sure that you liaise with the Lamu project officials so that the locals benefit from the opportunities,” said Kenyatta.
He said Sh200 million would be allocated to the county to build a decent hospital.
Revoking titles
He also promised to reconstitute the LAPPSET board to include a representative from the county to champion their issues.
Addressing the gathering, Deputy President Ruto said land allocation in Lamu done three years ago should be reviewed.
“It is not possible to have less that 100 people allocated one million acres while the residents were only given titles of an acre or slightly more…this is something that should be condemned and rectified,” said Ruto.
He urged the Lamu people to embrace education and asked the county leadership to increase the number of secondary schools.
Lamu Governor Issa Timamy said Provincial Administration officials — who are still apportioning individuals land at a fee — perpetuate illegal allocation of land.
“Some chiefs and the district officers continue to distribute land to outsiders regardless of the fact that there are real owners of the land,” said Timamy.
He also accused some senior government officials of grabbing land around the proposed Lamu port and asked the national government to consider revoking the titles.

“We at the county government are not going to allow this, some people were allocated 200,000 acres and others were given land running into thousands of acres,” said Timamy.
The Lamu governor said that his government would not recognise some of the land allocations that had been fraudulently done.


Kackzy01 September 2013 12:15 PM
Let the Coast people be given what belongs to them. The place with the highest land grabbing is Kilifi county. Grabbers with arabic origin have been the great threat, especially a place called Shariani. The reason behind this is that the local leaders are given huge sum of money by the rich-oriented-arab-origined individuals. Alternatively, they are given a portion of the grabbed land. Please Your Excellence, do some to rescue the Kilifian common Mwananchi Kackzy

Hussein Abbas01 September 2013 11:38 AM
This is what we were waiting to hear from the President and his Deputy cause People have taken allot of Lands which does not belong to them how can one own 200,000 acres and others running to thousands acres . We are behind Governor Issa Timamy and we are sure he will bring a very big change to Lamu People . We have to give him time . GOD is with him . Hussein Abbas

Thuthru01 September 2013 6:40 AM
What am I hearing?

mayaka01 September 2013 6:06 AM
Good for you Mr, Timmamy I suggest all title deeds be revoked. Mr. Odinga should know that the reresidents are very happy to receive their title deeds after waiting for over 50 yrs. The national lands board sat on them why would they give them now. I know politicians are unhappy that the their favourite politicking tool has been taken away from them.

Noah01 September 2013 1:06 AM
What the president has done appears a good thing at the face of it, but we have to be very cautious about politicising issues like issuing of the title deeds. They should be left to the administrators. For example telling the people that we asked you to vote for us so that we issue the title deeds appears to imply that the title deeds were not issued for over 50 years because the coast people were not voting for the government of the day. Which should not be the case at all. The main risk is that the president cannot be challenged on issues of the kind even if he gave title deeds to the wrong people. But after his government, someone can challenge (or the next government) may challenge such actions saying the president erred in .....and the title deeds can be later nullified and a legal process instituted. We have seen these things happen. So the executive should not indulge on issues that do not concern them for political expediency. It is what has ruined this country since Independence. The due process of the law should be the guiding principle and not political expediency.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Raila faults Uhuru for issuing title deeds

Former Prime Minister and CORD leader Raila Odinga addresses a past rally. Photo/JACOB OWITI

Former Prime Minister and CORD leader Raila Odinga addresses a past rally.

In Summary

  • Among those being fronted for nomination include former PS Kerry Orege from Bondo and former Ambassador Elkana Odembo from Ugenya.
  • Cord co-principal Moses Wetang’ula and Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale echoed the sentiments and asked the President to steer clear of land matters.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has faulted President Uhuru Kenyatta for issuing title deeds to squatters at the Coast, saying the move is unconstitutional.

Mr Odinga said identification of genuine landless people and issuance of the title deeds was the mandate of the National Land Commission and not the President or the Cabinet Secretary.

“The work of issuing title deeds is for clerical officers and not for the Head of State,” Mr Odinga said.

“By usurping the commission’s powers, it will be difficult for the government to repossess grabbed land and revert it to the rightful owners,” the Cord leader stated.
Cord co-principal Moses Wetang’ula and Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale echoed the sentiments and asked the President to steer clear of land matters.

President Kenyatta issued the first batch of 60,000 title deeds to Coast residents on Friday.
The former PM also asked Kenyans to press for a referendum, saying that Cord would soon embark on an exercise of collecting five million signatures from across the country to push for the referendum.

He was speaking during the homecoming party of Butere MP Andrew Toboso at Butere Girls School. Legislators from Western and Nyanza attended the ceremony.

Meanwhile, there is intense lobbying for the Siaya Governor seat ahead of the October 17 by-election. Yesterday, Ugenya MP David Ochieng’ said ODM party had not settled on any candidate.
“You will continue to get mixed signals until we get a candidate. It is too early to say that we have settled on anybody. The party structures are working on the issue and whoever is presented to us we will support,” said Mr Ochieng’.

The former Governor Cornel Rasanga on the other hand expressed optimism that ODM would endorse him for the seat. “I hope the party will make a very concrete decision and not a biased one. I vow to remain an ODM member even if the party picks another candidate.”

Although in public the MPs are showing a united front, there is intense behind-the-scenes lobbying.
Nominated MP Oburu Oginga let the cat out of the bag when he said the party should nominate a candidate from Bondo.

Dr Oginga said the Siaya governor’s seat was initially for Bondo and Rarieda constituencies before a candidate from Alego was nominated.

“The seat initially belonged to Bondo before (William) Oduol claimed that he was defeated unfairly during the nominations paving way for Mr Rasanga. I do not see the reason why Mr Oduol took Mr Rasanga to court yet they are all from Alego. If they cannot handle the seat they should return it to its initial owners.”

Among those being fronted for nomination include former PS Kerry Orege from Bondo and former Ambassador Elkana Odembo from Ugenya.

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