County's strategy to end squatter menace

Jane Charo, a squatter at Lamkanein Mombasa, on March 25 after 527 families were evicted from the 135-acre piece of land. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]
The county government is contemplating buying land to settle squatters, according to a member of the county executive committee.

"The executive intends to use legislation to borrow funds for the project. Other than buying land, the money will also be used to process title deeds." the lands and physical planning executive, Edward Nyale, said yesterday.

Plans to end the squatter menace in the county started in December last year and was followed up last week by the countyassembly's adoption of a motion calling for the establishment of a kitty to settle the landless.

The motion moved by nominated MCA Mohamed Hatimy, who is also the chairman of the county assembly's finance and budget committee, received overwhelming support from members.

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The MCAs said the plan was the only way to conclusively deal with the squatter menace.

He added: "We will set up a resettlement fund following passage of the motion by MCAs. We will make every effort for the plan to succeed. We need to end the problem of squatters once and for all," Mr Nyale said.

It is also expected to end frequent conflicts between squatters and land owners, some of which have resulted in deaths and loss of property.

The programme will involve borrowing money externally to buy land to settle the squatters. 

The county will need the approval of the national government to borrow the money, according to the motion. 

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The county administration will also seek donors willing to help settle the landless.

It is estimated that the county has about 250,000 squatters living either on public or private land. But the administration has not indicated how much will be needed to settle the squatters. 

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