The Njuri Ncheke council of elders has asked the Government to open more land registries in the county to speed up issuance of title deeds.
According to the council's chairman Linus Kathera, land owners had been going through a hard time at the Maua registry in Igembe South, where they had been turning out in large numbers to pursue the documents.
Mr Kathera said the office was overwhelmed, as it served people from Igembe South, Igembe North and Igembe Central sub-counties.
He warned that the Government’s plan to issue title deeds to Meru residents in five years would not succeed if more registries were not opened.
“When you go to the registry in Maua town you are amazed by the number of people there. Yet there are people in the three sub-counties who are disabled or too poor to afford trips to Maua,” Kathera said.
He said the Government should urgently open additional land registries to serve the other two sub-counties.
“All the people in the three sub-counties troop to Maua to pursue their land issues. We want the land registry to be devolved further. We would appreciate even if the national government started mobile registries,” he added.
The elder further said some people had been dispossessed by unscrupulous individuals.
“We are seeing a situation where there are false accusations of robberies by some people who want to deprive the poor of their land. When they want to steal land from the poor they go to police and record false robbery accusations and the poor cannot afford to defend themselves,” he said.
Kathera said Njuri Ncheke was handling many land disputes.
“We want police and other national government agencies to partner with the Njuri council to resolve these disputes. We want the title deeds process to be transparent, fair and free of all forms of corruption,” he said.
The elders, he added, need to be empowered to help the national government to issue the deeds.
“We have been resolving these disputes because we know the parties to the disputes. Our judgment is based on the truth. Actually, sometimes we do statements and act as witnesses in court cases,” said Kathera.
Maua MCA George Muthuri said they had "tried all ways" to have the title issuance process streamlined as residents had grown impatient.
“Land titles are important for rural families who can use them to empower themselves economically,” said Mr Muthuri.
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