Mombasa's absentee landlords to lose land to squatters, says NLC

National Lands Commission Chairman Muhammad Swazuri
MOMBASA, KENYA: The National Land Commission (NLC) has begun the process of settling thousands of people on land owned by absentee landlords.

The commission is currently valuing the parcels of land, some of which belong to descendants of the Sultan of Zanzibar.

Some of the agreements between landlords and tenants, who pay monthly land rates, date back to 1924. The home owners hope to acquire the plots on which their houses stand.

Speaking in Mwembe Kuku on Monday, NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri said the valuation would determine the price of each plot.

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The commission will use the information in negotiations so that tenants can be allowed to buy the land where their houses stand.

Prof Swazuri said the valuation would cover 16 parcels in Sparki, Sargoi and Bondeni. More than 20,000 tenants are set to benefit once a deal is reached.

He said the home owners and landlords had differed over land prices. Tenants offered between Sh500, 000 and Sh1.5 million per plot with one house.

But the landlords are demanding more than Sh10 million.

“We have been arbitrating between landlords and tenants, who have offered different prices. It has therefore been agreed that the commission conducts a valuation so we can come up with an independent set of prices. Parties will be free to go to court if they are dissatisfied with the new prices even though it will delay the process of resolving the dispute,” Swazuri said.

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Mwembe Kuku Welfare Society chairman Abdullahi Farah is hopeful that the residents will finally own the land on which their houses stand.

“We have had conflicts with landowners for many years. We hope the prices NLC come up with will enable us to find a lasting solution,” he said.

Most of the landlords live abroad

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SquattersMohamed Swazuri