State strikes deal with Teita Sisal Estate to settle 3,000 squatters

Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung'aro addresses locals at Mjanaheri village at Magarini in Kilifi County. [Maarufu Mohamed/Standard]

More than 3,000 squatters will be settled on a farm whose owner has agreed to cede part of it to them.

The owner of Teita Sisal estate will give up 250 acres to settle the landless after negotiations with the national government.

And yesterday, Lands Chief Administrative Secretary Gideon Mung’aro said the Ministry of Lands had struck a deal with the farm owner for another 20 acres for public facilities.

The squatters expected to benefit from the deal live in Singila and Majengo villages in Mwatate. They have lived on the private farm for years and had vowed never to leave.

Mr Mung’aro, who was accompanied by Teita Sisal Managing Director Phillip Kyriaz and acting County Commissioner Francis Kazungu, said the Government had already deployed surveyors who would determine how the ceded land would be divided among the squatters.

Also present were Mwatate MP Andrew Mwadime and county Lands Executive Claris Munyambo.

“The Government is implementing a resolution passed by Parliament a few years ago that squatters who have lived on the farm for years should be settled,” said Mung'aro.

He said a survey carried out by the national government showed squatters had encroached on at least 32,000 acres of the farm.

“We have agreed to set aside about 250 acres of the land being occupied by the squatters for permanent settlement of the landless. The farm managers have resolved to sort the issue out once and for all after our agreement to find a lasting solution to the squatter menace,” said Mr Kyriaz.

Mung'aro said: “The landowner has agreed to excise part of the land to settle the squatters and we have already deployed surveyors to facilitate their settlement.”

The CAS also said they had agreed that the farm owner would share dam water on his property with the surrounding community, as recommended by Parliament.

"Residents of Mwatate town will now be allowed access to the dam. The management of the farm has agreed to create one access route to the dam to be used by residents drawing water from the dam,” he said.

He also said Mwatate-Kamtonga and Mwatate-Kasigau roads, which pass through the farm, would also be opened for use by the residents.

“There will be no roadblocks as before. The investor has agreed to co-operate with the Government and residents to open up the roads to the public."