Makueni residents have cited lack of title deeds, land grabbing, boundaries disputes and delayed compensation by government on compulsory acquisition of land for community projects as the main challenges facing land management in the county.
Speaking during the first land annual meeting held at KwaKathoka on Monday the residents appealed to both the national and county governments to intervene and address the challenges to enable them use land for economic benefits.
Pascal Kyule said delay in issuance of title deeds in Utithi, Kathekani, Kiboko A and B settlement schemes in Kibwezi Sub County had forced the residents to live as squatters and asked the government to hasten the process.
”Most of the residents were evicted from the Chyulu National Park in 1992 and they are still living as squatters despite promises by the government to have them own the land,”said Kyule.
He also asked the government to repossess grabbed public land and resolve the border dispute between Makueni and Taita Taveta counties.
”Residents have encroached the Umani springs catchment area while Mtito Andei and Kambu towns are poorly planned and land allocated for public utilities has been grabbed,”added Kyule.
Similar sentiments were echoed by William Matheka from Kilome who said public utility land in Malili and Konza Techno city had been grabbed and sold by unscrupulous people.
On land acquisition for government projects the residents said delayed compensation for the Thwake multipurpose dam and Ketraco projects had disadvantaged residents and asked the government to offer full compensation before the projects start.
”The government is yet to compensate residents affected by the construction of the Thwake dam, ‘said Paul Mbulu from Mbooni.
Governor Kivutha Kibwana said lack of land ownership across the county had limited access to its use for the benefit of the residents.
”Residents are not able to access loans to develop their land because they lack title deeds,”said Kivutha.
The governor underscored the need to resolve land problems in the county and assured residents that his government will partner with the National Government to address the challenges.
The Lands Chief Administrative Secretary, Gideon Mungaro promised that the government will prioritise the issuance of title deeds in the county.
”The government has already issued 100,000 title deeds and we shall ensure that the issuance is decentralized and brought closer to the people,”said Mungaro.
Source: Kenya News Agency