Official: 3,000 to be settled soon

The Executive Secretary, Mwasima Mbuwa Welfare Association, a land lobby group, showing the disputed land bordering Teita Sisal Estate in Mwatate District, Taita-Taveta County. [Photo: RENSON MNYAMWEZI/STANDARD]

More than 3,000 squatters living in Teita Sisal estate will soon be settled, according to the estate managers.

Managing Director Phillip Kyriaz said they had begun mapping out areas the squatters had occupied in Singila and Majengo villages before the settlement programme could kick off.

"Surveyors are currently identifying the squatters living on the farm before demarcation can start," Mr Kyriaz said yesterday.

The farm recently ceded 250 acres to settle the landless after a deal with the national government. The farm also gave up another 20 acres for social amenities as requested by the Ministry of Lands.

Mapping areas

"We have started mapping out areas occupied by squatters and once we are through with the exercise, the Ministry of Lands will now come in and settle the landless. They will be settled on the plots they are currently occupying,” Kyriaz told The Standard.

James Ngiriri, a lands adjudication and settlement officer, said: "We are currently surveying the land the investor has given for settlement of the squatters after which the Government will come in and demarcate it and settle the landless."

The squatters had encroached on at least 32,000 acres of land.

Settling the landless permanently is among recommendations passed by Parliament in efforts to end the squatter menace in the region.

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

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