President Uhuru resolves Waitiki land row

By: NJERI RUGENE

A dispute over the ownership of land in Mombasa is set to end after President Kenyatta announced on Wednesday a deal had been reached on the prime property.

In a statement from State House, the President said the government and Mr Evanson Kamau Waitiki, the owner of the Likoni land, had reached an agreement on how the 960-acre land would be adjudicated and title deeds issued to the people who occupy it.

“I am very pleased to announce that an amicable solution has been found to the long-running dispute between Mr Waitiki and a number of other claimants to a parcel of land in Likoni, Mombasa County,” he said.

He went on: “The government has signed a framework agreement with Mr Waitiki which establishes a road map of adjudication and titling of all the land to the current occupants.”

Nation learnt that Likoni MP Masoud Mwahima and Mr Waitiki, who had maintained he bought the land about 40 years ago, attended the negotiations at State House Nairobi on Wednesday.

18-YEAR OLD CASE

The Waitiki land dispute has been the subject of court cases since 1997.

‘‘Three previous governments have considered the matter without bringing it to a close, but now we have a framework that promises to bring the matter to an end,” the President said.

He directed acting Lands CS Fred Matiang’i to “take immediate steps to implement the framework agreement” by meeting local leaders from next to week to work out the final details.

National Lands Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri welcomed the State House agreement. “I am aware they visited State House today. We are happy with the development,” said Dr Swazuri.

KAYA BOMBO CLASHES

Mr Waitiki was evicted from the land by youths during the 1997/8 Kaya Bombo clashes, claiming it belonged to their forefathers.

He has maintained that he bought the land in 1975, saying it is worth Sh9 billion.

However, a government valuation report in 2013 indicated that the land and property on it was worth Sh3 billion.

Suspended Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu had made several trips to the farm and promised a quick solution.

Mrs Ngilu was later accused of colluding with Mr Waitiki to inflate the cost of the land. She was cleared by the anti-corruption commission of the allegations.

Senior Director of Public Communication at State House Munyori Buku described the deal as “a testimony that the Jubilee administration is delivering its promise on land issues”.

“People will be settled and they will have the stability that land tenure offers,” Mr Munyori said in the statement.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION