By JOSEPH MASHA
The National Land Commission (NLC) has urged Government to suspend execution of court orders for the eviction of squatters.
The commission chairman Mohamed Swazuri said most of the pending orders have been issued in Mombasa, Kilifi and Laikipia counties.Swazuri said yesterday the Government should wait for the findings of a special Task Force appointed last year to investigate issues on community land ownership and land under trustees.
He said the Task Force is set to complete its report in June that will include the proposed Eviction and Squatter Resettlement Bill. He warned that there could be bloodshed if police and the Provincial Administration implement most of the pending eviction orders the Judiciary issued.
“It is the wish of the National Land Commission to urge the Government to tread carefully when it is handling issues of evicting squatters from the land they are occupying after getting orders from the courts as that could cause bloodshed,” warned Swazuri.
He said this when he presided over a ceremony to open the refurbished Lands registry offices for Kilifi County. The offices were refurbished with aid from USAid through Kenya Transition Initiative with the partnership of the Government.
Swazuri, who was accompanied by Kilifi County Governor Amason Kingi, said thousands of Kenyans were threatened with eviction after land owners obtained eviction orders and disclosed that 18 such notices were pending in Mombasa County alone. He said squatters in Kilifi and Laikipia face similar eviction orders.
The NLC chairman said the Government must come up with clear guidelines on how to carry out eviction orders especially in Coast region where the land question is emotive and complex.