149 titles issued by Kiambu County illegal, says CS

Lands CS Faridah Karoney.
The fate of a 300-acre piece of land in Kiambu at the centre of a dispute now lies with the National Assembly or the Cabinet.

This is after the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ministry of Lands and the National Land Commission (NLC) told the Lands National Committee to make lasting recommendation that will bring to a halt the 25-year dispute.

According to the Ministry of Lands, the 419-acre parcel from which 300 acres were hived off to settle squatters after a Government decree was still public forest land.

Lands CS Faridah Karoney told the Racheal Nyamai-led Lands committee that anyone having a title deed in respect to the land is holding an illegal document because the issuance was irregular.

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“The 149 titled parcels fall within the boundaries of the Kamiti Forest Reserve. The forest was not degazetted to make it available for allocation pursuant to the then procures laid out under the Forest Act. There have been consultative processes within government towards de-gazettement but the legal procedure for excision of a public forest has never been followed,” said Karoney.

The procedure

The Lands CS told the lawmakers that the procedure for de-gazettement of forest land is provided for under Section 34 of the Forest Conservation and Management Act, 2016.

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“Any interested party may petition Parliament for the variation of boundaries of a public forest or the revocation of the registration of a public forest or a portion of a public forest. The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry would then gazette a variation of forest boundaries if the petition is approved,” reads part of the law.

Already 149 titles were issued with more than 1,400 allotment letters still pending regularisation.

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The Kamiti/Anmer 419-acre land is currently being claimed by five groups. 

Of the 419 acres, Kanu administration directed that 300 acres be hived off the parcel and allocated to the squatters who were victims of post-election violence in Rift Valley in 1992 and landless in the area in 1994.

The five groups, Kamiti Forest Squatters Association, Muungano wa Kamiti Group and Kamiti Anmer Development Welfare Group, Kenya Forest Service and Kamiti Development Association are using alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism to benefit from the land.

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National AssemblyLand disputeKamiti Amner Land owners